The importance of protecting your eyes with UV protection sunglasses

UV protection sunglasses

The sun is great for providing warmth, vitamin D, and boosting our serotonin levels. However, it also emits UV rays that can harm your eyes if you’re exposed to them unprotected. Read on to learn why wearing UV protection sunglasses is crucial for maintaining your eye health.

Effects of UV on eyes

Effects of UV on eyes

There are three types of UV light: UVC, UVB and UVA

  • UVC rays are blocked by the earth’s ozone layer and do not affect your eyes.
  • UVB rays are mostly absorbed by the cornea, which can cause corneal issues and distorted vision.
  • UVA rays penetrate deep into the eye, passing through the cornea and reaching the lens and retina.

Several eye conditions can develop due to unprotected sun exposure.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur over time when the lens develops cloudy patches due to a breakdown of protein in the eye. Long-term UV exposure can modify these proteins in the lens, causing cloudiness and impaired vision and increasing the risk of cataracts.

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a prevalent eye condition that primarily impacts central vision. It occurs due to damage to the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. Studies indicate that individuals with low levels of macular pigment, which acts as a protective barrier against harmful UV rays, may have an increased risk of developing this condition.

Eye cancer

Unprotected sun exposure can cause eye cancer like melanoma, leading to long-term damage. Melanoma is a type of cancer that develops from cells called melanocytes, which give our skin its colour. However, as melanocytes are also found in the eye, melanoma can develop in the uvea, which is the most common type of eye melanoma, and in the conjunctiva in rare cases.

Photokeratitis

Intense, short-term sun exposure can cause photokeratitis, a painful condition which is essentially sunburn on the cornea, resulting in short-term damage like eye pain, blurry vision and watery eyes.

Solar retinopathy

Staring directly at the sun can cause solar retinopathy, which occurs when the sun’s rays reach the eyes and burn the retina. It usually heals itself but can temporarily impair your vision.

Solar retinopathy

Sunglasses are your primary protection from the sun. Designed with special coatings, they absorb, block, and reflect UVA and UVB rays, preventing them from penetrating through the lens and into your eye. Some key considerations when purchasing sunglasses are:

  • UV protection: sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection will carry the CE or UV400 mark. The CE mark ensures that sunglasses conform to the health, safety and environmental requirements of the EU.
  • Size: larger frames and lenses provide more protection for the eyes and surrounding skin. Wraparound sunglasses are the ideal choice for maximum coverage.
  • Sunglasses for kids: protecting children’s eyes is crucial. 50 to 80% of lifetime UV exposure occurs before age 18, so it’s essential to provide children with sunglasses to protect their future eye health.

Additionally, lens colour is more than just a fashion statement. Different colours offer various benefits. Grey lenses are a good all-rounder, providing accurate colour perception; brown lenses can increase brightness and enhance contrast, and green lenses help filter out blue light, reducing eye strain in bright sunlight.

Get in touch

 Ensure your eyes are shielded from the sun this season and throughout the year. Explore our range of UV protection sunglasses at your nearby Bagot opticians and keep your eyes protected.

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