While many people view sunglasses as just a fashion accessory, wearing them has many benefits for your overall eye health. Sunglasses are incredibly important in protecting our eyes from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is a type of energy that is produced by the sun and is invisible to the naked eye. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can cause damage to the eyes, and can accelerate many eye conditions, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye). If left untreated, these conditions can lead to vision loss and other serious eye problems.
Sunglasses work by absorbing or reflecting the UV radiation before it reaches our eyes. The lenses of sunglasses are made of materials that have the ability to filter out different wavelengths of light, including UVA and UVB rays. The amount of UV radiation that sunglasses can block depends on the type of lenses that are included. While the American Optometric Association recommends that sunglasses should block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation, not all sunglasses provide this level of protection. When purchasing sunglasses, it is important to check the labels and select those that provide UVA and UVB protection. If you wear glasses, it’s a good idea to purchase a pair of prescription sunglasses to wear for driving and other outdoor activities.
In addition to protecting our eyes from UV rays, sunglasses can also provide other benefits. They can reduce glare, improve visual comfort, and enhance visual clarity. Sunglasses with polarized lenses are particularly useful in reducing glare, especially when driving or participating in outdoor activities near water or snow. Sunglasses can also be beneficial for people with certain eye conditions. For example, people with light sensitivity or certain types of cataracts may find that wearing sunglasses helps to reduce their symptoms and improve their vision.
When choosing your sunglasses this spring, remember to choose a style that provides adequate UV protection, and to wear them whenever you’re outside, especially during peak sunlight hours. We offer many prescription and non-prescription options for sunglasses in our optical, so stop by today to purchase your perfect pair this spring!