How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for UV Protection This Summer (July Is UV Safety Awareness Month)

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Posted on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023 by Dr. Robert Mack
Eye health Hoffman Estates

Residents of Hoffman Estates know that the summer months fuel the desire to be outdoors soaking up the sun, but the health of your eyes can be affected if proper precautions are not taken. Just as many of us remember to protect our skin before heading outdoors to prevent sunburn and damage, our eyes also need special protection from the sun. July is UV Safety Awareness Month, and the skilled team at Mack Eye Center provides information below about how to choose the right UV-blocking sunglasses this summer.

How UV Light Damages the Eyes

UV light, either from natural sunlight or artificial sources, presents a risk of damage to nearly all ocular structures, including the surface tissues of the eye, cornea, lens, and even the eyelid. When sunlight is at its strongest — generally between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm — the risk of damage from UV rays increases, but it is still possible for sun damage to occur even on an overcast day. Individuals concerned about preserving their eye health should wear sunglasses that offer adequate protection from the sun.

UV light can cause the following issues in your eyes:

  • Increased dryness
  • Corneal damage
  • Growths on the eye
  • Cataracts
  • Eye cancers
  • Photokeratitis (sunburned eyes)
  • Oxidative stress leading to macular degeneration
  • Reduced quality of vision

Protect Your Eyes with the Right Eyewear

When choosing sunglasses, keep in mind the following characteristics:

UV protection should be the number one priority: Most trusted eyewear brands will clearly label the level of UV protection their glasses can provide. Select sunglasses that offer 100% protection from harmful UV light or 100% protection from UV 400.

Lens color matters less than you think: Many people think that the darker the lens, the more protection it offers. This isn’t necessarily true; in fact, the shade, hue, and tone of the glasses have no effect on the level of UV protection. While it is true that mirrored or reflective lenses can cut down on the amount of light entering the eye, unless the sunglasses contain a conspicuous label indicating UV protection, you should not assume the glasses are effective for that purpose.

Polarization helps with UV filtering: Some polarized lenses offer UV filtering, which can help protect your vision. You should look for lenses that indicate maximum protection.

The size of your sunglasses matters: Select sunglasses that are properly fitted. Indirect sunlight, such as the kind that may enter from above or the sides of your sunglasses, may cause damage to your eyes. To ward against this, consider choosing oversized sunglasses or those that wrap around for maximum protection.

Maintaining Eye Health at Mack Eye Center

If you are concerned that your eyes may have UV damage, it’s time to see an eye doctor, such as the skilled team of experts at Mack Eye Center who are dedicated to your eye health. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office today.

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