Do you need UV protection in your sunwear lenses?
Most of us know what the sun can do to our unprotected skin. Sunburn can be painful. That’s why we wear sunscreen with Sun Protection Factors (SPF) which provides varying degrees of protection against the sun’s “burning” rays.
While many of us wear sunglasses when we’re outside in the sun, it’s mostly because the sun’s glare can be uncomfortable (possibly even painful), especially if our eyes are sensitive to sunlight. Often, we don’t think about how exposure to the sun could affect our vision in the long term.
But just as the sun’s rays can burn our skin, it also has the potential to cause damage to our eyes.
The sun is the source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. According to the Cancer Association, there are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. We’re mainly exposed to UVA rays (about 95% reach the ground) and UVB rays (about 5% reach the ground) from the sun.
According to WebMD, the UVA rays can harm the macula (the part of your eye that helps you see detail) while the UVB rays can harm your cornea and lens (which lets in light and works with the cornea to focus it on the retina.)
Both types of UV rays have the potential to damage different parts of your eye which are essential in helping it function effectively —and even limited exposure for a short amount of time can increase the likelihood of eye conditions and diseases.
It’s not enough to wear hats when you’re out in the sun. Nor is it enough to wear dark sunglasses. Just because they’re dark, doesn’t mean they offer effective UV protection. In fact, they can cause more damage than not wearing sunglasses. That’s because dark lenses cause your pupils to open wider. As a result, they let more light into your eyes.
When choosing sunwear lenses, make sure they offer effective UV protection. Regular glasses which block UV sunlight only protect you from about 3%-5% of the sunlight’s harmful spectrum.
Special coatings such as Shamir Glacier Sun offer UV protection. Its anti-reflective (AR) properties prevent reflected sunlight from bouncing into your eyes, so you’ll see perfectly while enjoying complete protection from the harmful effects of UV rays.