Learn About UV Protection Glasses

Whether it’s a cloudy or a bright, shiny day – the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can potentially damage your eyes. That’s why it’s important to wear UV protection glasses whenever you’re spending time outside. While most people protect their skin when enjoying some fun in the sun, the eyes are often left unprotected. However, this can lead to serious eye problems over time. Learn how UV protection glasses can help keep your eyes safe and how having an annual eye exam at your neighborhood Pearle Vision can help identify any eye conditions early on.

UV Protection Glasses

UV protection glasses are designed to block the sun’s harmful rays. Not all lenses offer UV protection or the same amount of protection. Polycarbonate lenses block most UV rays and can give you up to 99 percent protection. However, adding a UV coating can help boost your protection to 100 percent. What is UV coating on glasses? This special treatment is an invisible dye that adds UV protection to eyeglass lenses. Another alternative is photochromic lenses, which block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays without the need of additional UV coating. At Pearle Vision, all our lenses have UV protection. Regardless of what style or brand you choose, you can rest assured that your eyes are protected when you go outside.

How Can UV Rays Damage Your Eyes

While most people know the sun can damage their skin, many don’t realize the amount of damage it can do to their eyes. Similar to a sunburn, your eyes can develop ultraviolet keratitis from being overexposed to the sun. Symptoms will typically last between up to 24 hours and may include:

  • Puffy or red eyes
  • Excessive tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seeing halos
  • Short-term vision loss

The longer your eyes are exposed to the sun, the greater the risk of more serious damage. Some of the long-term effects of prolonged exposure to UV rays can include:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Cancer in the eyes
  • Damage to the cornea and retina
  • Photokeratitis (an abnormal growth on the eye)

There are two types of UV rays that can potentially damage your eyes, which are:

  • UVA Rays: This type of UV ray passes through the cornea and reaches the lens and retina inside your eyes. Over time, sun exposure can lead to the development of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • UVB Rays: This type of UV ray is completely absorbed by the eye’s cornea. Exposure can lead to snow blindness, a condition that causes pain in the cornea and inflammation. In some cases, this can lead to temporary vision loss.

It’s important to note that your sunglasses must offer both UVA and UVB protection to block at least 99 percent of ultraviolet radiation.

How to Prevent Sun Damage to Your Eyes

Many studies have shown that a large percentage of the sun damage people accrue in their lifetime happens before the age of 18. That’s why it’s important to prevent sun damage by wearing UV protection glasses and a hat whenever outside. Children’s eyes are even more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays because the retina is more sensitive as it develops. Keep their eyes protected with a pair of kid’s sunglasses.

Worried about sun damage to your eyes? Schedule an appointment at your neighborhood Pearle Vision EyeCare Center. Our eye doctors can help diagnose any symptoms you may be experiencing and provide treatment options before it becomes a more serious issue. You can also update your eyeglass prescription and get a new pair of lenses that automatically come with UV protection after your eye exam to ensure you’re getting the protection you need.

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