Jan 20

Choosing Sunglasses with UV Protection Is Important for Eye Health

Posted on January 20, 2021 — by Eric Del Piero

Two pairs of sunglassesSunglasses are a fashion statement that can also protect your eyes. An ophthalmologist can help you choose the right pair. At Monterey County Eye Associates, Dr. Eric Del Piero and Dr. Leland Rosenblum recommend choosing sunglasses with UV protection. This helps patients from the Monterey, Salinas, and King City, CA, areas see clearly and prevent vision loss.

Let's take a closer look at why you should wear sunglasses with UV protection. We’ll then offer some tips on what to look for when choosing the right pair of sunglasses for you.

Is It Important to Choose Sunglasses with UV Protection?

Yes, it is important to choose sunglasses with UV protection and to wear them regularly. Sunglasses with UV protection help block out harmful radiation from the sun.

The Harmful Effect of UV Rays

This radiation, known as ultraviolet or UV radiation, is well known for the damage it can do to the skin. Some people are surprised to learn that it can also harm the eyes. Like sun damage to the skin, damage from UV radiation exposure of the eyes can add up over time.

Wearing sunglasses with UV protection is one of the best ways to protect the eyes from UV radiation whenever outdoors or exposed to UV light.

UV Radiation and Eye Health

There are different types of UV radiation. UV-A and UV-B are most harmful to the eyes. UV radiation damage is cumulative, adding up over time and with every exposure. Over time, UV radiation can affect eye health, causing problems like:

  • Cataracts: When UV light passes through the eyes, it is absorbed by the lens. This can contribute to the formation of cataracts to form in the lens of the eyes.
  • Growths: UV radiation can cause noncancerous growths called pterygia and pinguecula to develop on the conjunctiva or cornea of the eye.
  • Macular degeneration: UV radiation exposure may also increase the risk of macular degeneration, am age-related condition which affects the central field of vision.
  • Photokeratitis: Photokeratitis occurs when the eyes are exposed to a large amount of UV radiation over a short amount of time. It's very similar to a sunburn and leaves the eyes feeling sensitive to light or like there's something gritty on the eyes. Symptoms are generally temporary.

What to Look for When Choosing Sunglasses with UV Protection

Wearing sunglasses with UV protection is the best way to protect your eyes when spending time in the sun, driving, or doing anything that would expose the eyes to UV radiation.

When choosing sunglasses with UV protection it's important to look for sunglasses that:

  • Block at least 99 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • Are rated UV400 or higher
  • Have large lenses to provide good coverage of the eyes
  • Fit closely or wrap around the eyes to block UV rays from entering around the sunglasses
  • Screen out at least 75 percent of visible light
  • Have polarized lenses to neutralize harmful glare

It’s also helpful to look for UV protection sunglasses that have gray lenses. These gray lenses allow color to look closest to their true form when wearing sunglasses.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in learning about your options for sunglasses with UV protection or would like more information about ways to protect your vision and eye health, our doctors are here to help. We welcome you to call (831) 424-1150 to schedule a consultation online with the Monterey County Eye Associates.

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