UV radiation can cause eye damage over time, including cataracts, eyelid cancer, and photokeratitis, which is similar to having a sunburn in the eyes, amongst others.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SUNGLASSES
Myth: I only need to wear sunglasses when it’s sunny out.
UV rays can pass right through clouds, so it is essential to wear sunglasses (and sunscreen) with UV protection on a cloudy day and even in the shade. Sun damage to our eyes can occur all year round, including cloudy and snowy days. In fact, sunglasses or ski goggles are just as important in the winter because snow reflects UV rays, increasing solar UV radiation.
Myth: Darker lenses provide more UV protection that lighter lenses.
Darker lenses don’t necessarily offer more UV protection. Although they do help reduce glare, it does not assist in blocking UV rays. To be sure that your sunglasses are protecting your eyes, make sure that your sunglasses block 100% of UV rays despite the color of the lenses.
Myth: Smaller children don’t need sunglasses.
Eye protection is always essential, especially at a younger age. Children are at greater risk not only because they spent more time in the sun, but also because their eyes are more sensitive. UV damage accumulates over a lifetime, so it’s important to protect children’s eyes as early as possible.
Myth: Polarized lenses offer UV protection.
Having polarization and UV protection are two different things. Polarized lenses offer increased visual clarity, but has nothing to do with UV protection. When shopping for polarized lenses, look for those that also offer sufficient UV protection.
Myth: It’s okay to look at the sun as long as I have sunglasses on.
It’s never a good idea to stare into the sun. Due to the sun’s harmful UV radiation, staring at the sun can cause permanent eye damage.
HOW CAN I PREVENT UV DAMAGE TO MY EYES?
To best protect your eyes, have comprehensive eye examinations regularly and look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays. You can also look for lenses that are labeled as “UV400,” which blocks UV rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers and covers all UV-A and UV-B rays.
UV protection is essential all year round, so it’s important to wear sunglasses and practice safe sun protection all year round.