According to a new nationwide survey released, three-quarters of Americans worry about potential eye problems caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays, yet only 31% wear sunglasses or other UV-protective eyewear outdoors. In this blog will discuss UV rays and how sunglasses can protect you from them.

UV rays are blocked from entering the eye with sun protection. There are several types of UV rays. However, ultraviolet light is actually invisible to the human eye. It is not part of the visible spectrum. However, it can damage the eyes.

What are the Different Types of UV Rays?

UV radiation can be categorized into three types, each with a different degree of risk.

  • UVC - Typically, UVC has the highest energy and can be considered the most dangerous type of UV ray. Fortunately, it is usually blocked by the ozone layer, so we don't have to worry about it.
  • UVB - UVB is another type of UV ray which is only partially blocked by the ozone layer. Typically, UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, suntans, wrinkles, and even aging of the skin. In regards to eye issues, it may cause pinguecula and pterygium. These are found on the white parts of the eye and can be compared to calluses, which result from UV exposure thickening the skin. Moreover, a lot of UVB rays are blocked by the cornea, which is the clear part of the eye that sits in front of the iris.
  • UVA - The UVA rays are usually considered to have the lowest energy. Since it's not blocked by the cornea, it is a little more dangerous in terms of eye issues. It can actually penetrate the lens and retina of the eye. This is when eye-related issues like cataracts and macular degeneration can develop.

Which Sunglasses are Best for Your Eyes?

When it comes to sunglasses, you have to be careful because not all of them have the same quality. It is important to choose sunglasses that are actually labeled that they block either 99% or 100% of UV rays. And usually, the lenses nowadays have it within the actual physical lens. As opposed to older styles of glasses, which may have just had a coating on the lens.

Polarized sunglasses are also important. You can use those to prevent glare off of things, particularly water if you're on a boat. However, you can’t get much protection from them. Look out for that label if you want to make sure you're buying the right product.

It's more important to pick sunglasses that fit your face well and offer protection than to choose something stylish.

Why Should Kids Wear Sunglasses?

The reason why it is important for kids to wear sunglasses is because kids' eyes are super clear which means a lot of UV rays can pass through. According to a recent study, over 50% of someone's lifetime UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. Hence, sunglasses are extremely important to wear whether you are a kid or an adult. No matter how cloudy the day may be.

Get superior care when you schedule an appointment for UV protection at our leading optometry clinic in Olympia, attracting patients from Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Call (360) 491-2121 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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