Spring and summer months bring sunshine and fun. As the warm weather arrives it’s time for picnics, barbeques, long walks, and generally spending more time outdoors. But with the warm weather comes increased exposure to the sun. We are always told to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays by using high-factor sunscreen and wearing sunglasses. Yet no one explains what UVA and UVB are and what harm UV light really does to our eyes.
The three types of UV light
Ultraviolet radiation is a kind of energy that is produced by the sun and artificial light sources such as tanning lamps. UV light can be classified into three different types: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
Most UVC is filtered out by the earth’s ozone layer. UVB rays are extremely dangerous and are the primary cause of cancer and sunburn. UVA, though less intense, makes up the majority of UV light (approximately 95 percent) that reaches the surface of the planet. UVA is linked to skin cancer, aging, and many eye problems.
What damage can UV light cause eyes?
Over-exposure to harmful UV light can cause discomfort. But it can also seriously affect your eyes by causing cataracts, pterygium, or macular degeneration. This damage can lead to temporary or permanent loss of vision. Photokeratitis is a condition that is like having sunburn on the cornea. Although you may not notice it until a few hours after intense exposure to UV light, photokeratitis causes extreme pain.
If you want to prevent damage and avoid treatments and potential surgery, always protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.
Wearing sunglasses will provide the protection your eyes need from UV light. However, it’s important to buy quality shades. Those cheap ones you found online may look great, but are they really going to do the job of blocking out UVA and UVB completely?
Without proper UV filters, sunglasses can actually do more harm than wearing none at all. By reducing the amount of visible light, the pupils will widen. This allows more UV light to enter your eyes and increases the risk of potential harm.
The most important thing to look for when purchasing quality sunglasses is that they block 100 percent of the UV light. Always buy your sunglasses from a reputable source. And make sure your children are wearing sunglasses too. Eyes are more sensitive when we are young, and damage caused by UV light builds up gradually over long periods of time.
Wear sunglasses all year round
UV light is definitely more intense during the summer months, especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun it at its highest. However, UVB rays will also reflect off of water, concrete, sand, snow, and even your car’s dashboard. This means that your eyes will be exposed to UV light throughout the year. Wearing sunglasses all year round will give much needed protection and ensure your eyes remain healthy.
To avoid damage to your eyes, always purchase quality sunglasses. At Main Fashion Optical in Bergenfield and Passaic, NJ, we sell products which meet the highest standards of UV light protection. For advice on getting the right sunglasses for you, speak with our staff who are always ready to assist.