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UV Protection for the Eyes: Sunglasses

It is common knowledge that life cannot exist without the sun. The illumination from the sun that reaches the earth is both beneficial and detrimental to some extent. Direct ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can burn your skin and eyes if you have no form of protection. Continuous exposure to UV can lead to symptoms such as wrinkles around the eyes, sunburned eyelids, eye irritation, difficulty seeing, cancer around the eyes, and many more.

One way to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun is by wearing sunglasses.


Factors That Put You at Risk of UV Radiation


If you spend most of your days outside, you are at a higher risk of getting eye problems from UV light than those who stay indoors. The risks of UV radiation depend on several factors. The time of day that you normally spend outdoors counts. Morning and evening hours have less exposure to UV as compared to when the sun is at its peak. The outside setting that you spend most of your day also matters. Other factors that may affect your exposure include altitude, geographic location, and also medication.


Protecting Your Eyes


The easiest step to protecting your eyes from UV rays is by wearing sunglasses. Find sunglasses that are of good quality and can prevent 100 percent of UV rays. There are different types of sunglasses that are ideal for different lifestyles. Do not be misled by their color or darkness of the lens since it has nothing to do with the degree of UV protection. If you are unsure about the pair of sunglasses to buy, visit an optician to help you choose.

You may opt for contact lenses that protect you from UV rays. They may be good though they do not shield your eyelids. For this reason, it is best to stick to conventional sunglasses or wear a hat.


Types of Sunglass Lenses


Different lenses are suitable for diverse situations and needs. Some of the available lenses are:

  • Mirror coated lenses: These have a reflective surface on the outside that helps cut down the amount of light reaching your eyes. They are ideal for bright conditions such as a sunny or snowy day.

  • Polarized Lenses: The lenses on these decrease glare from bright light bouncing-off flat surfaces.

  • Gradient and Double Gradient Lenses: Gradient lenses are darkest at the top and fades as it nears the bottom. Double gradient lenses, are darkest at the top and bottom portions and fade at the center. These lenses are ideal for driving.

  • Photochromic Lenses: These lenses adjust their degree of darkness to the amount of UV light passing through them at the moment.

Children are at a particularly higher risk of damage by UV light. This is because they are still growing and their bodies are more sensitive than adults. Have them wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors on sunny days.

Ideal lenses do protect you from UV light, but you should not look directly at the sun. Such an action can permanently damage your retina. Sunglasses can be custom-made to fit whatever style you fancy.

For more information on UV eye protection, visit Kennedy Vision Health Center at our offices in Plymouth or Elk River, Minnesota. Call 763-545-8850 to reach our Plymouth office or 763-441-0205 to reach our Elk River office.

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