Eye Safety Blog

Sunglasses Help Protect Your Eyes

Posted by Cristie Wineland on Mon, Jul 02, 2012 @ 11:07 AM

Do you make an effort to wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors or driving? Some people own multiple pairs of sunglasses depending on styles and protection. Everyone should own at least one pair. Even if your one pair is not the sturdiest of material, something is better than nothing at all. Eye protection from the sun’s damaging rays is greatly important. Sunglasses help filter light as well as protect your eyes from harmful Ultraviolet rays.

Be a smart shopper when it comes time to purchase a pair of sunglasses. Choose a pair that is comfortable, close-fitting, doesn’t distort colors, reduces glare and protects against 99-100% of UV rays. Avoid sunglasses that say “cosmetic” or do not have labels.

***Be Sure to Read Labels***
Look for labels that read: Block 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.

These two types of UV rays can cause eye problems. Let’s refresh your memory on what UV-A and UV-B rays are. UV-A has a long wavelength and they penetrate your skin more deeply. Watch out because UV-A rays can go through windows, lightweight clothing, and even your car windshield. UV-A hurts your central vision; part of the retina at the back of the eye. UV-B has a short wavelength and they are responsible for tanning your skin, but they also cause sunburn. UV-B rays are the main culprit when it comes to skin cancer. These rays also go through windows, and it doesn't matter if it's cloudy. UV-B is mostly absorbed by the front part of the eye and may cause more damage than UV-A. 

If you already own a pair of sunglasses and are concerned about if they are UV protected you can take them to a local eyewear shop and have them tested. For example Hi-Tech Optical has a machine called a UV MeterSunglasses that measures the UV light-rays passing through a lens. The machine reads back a number of how much protection your lenses have. Most optical shops will not charge for this service so if you come across one that does, check somewhere else.

Another way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses that have coatings on the lenses. A UV Protective coating can easily be added to your lenses although most lenses already have it on them. An Anti-Reflective coating helps to reduce glare, reflections and halos around lights. Or you can purchase specific lenses such as: Photochromic or Polarized lenses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Photochromic lenses adjust their level of darkness based on the amount of UV light hitting them. You may know this type of lens as the trademark name Transitions™.  Polarized lenses are the best choice for protection and seeing clearly because the lenses take in light and filters it so it diminishes glare when you are looking at something.

 Now you know a little more about why sunglasses are important and why you should wear them. If you are curious on pricing for items such as: coatings, lenses, or even just frame styles give your local optical shop a call today. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about eyewear protection.

Tags: Polarized, UVB, Ultraviolet rays, Eyewear Shop, Optical Shops, sunglasses, damaging rays, UVA, UV Meter, Photochromic, coated lenses