Summertime is in full swing, and as the heat goes up, you might notice that the sunglasses are coming out in full force. Sunglasses seem to be a common trend around the months of May, June, July, and August, and they come in a variety of styles tailored to different fashion tastes. They offer great glare protection from harsh light, but did you know that sunglasses are more than just convenient tools for making daytime activities easier? They are your number one protection against the damaging UV rays of the sun. It is important to wear them year-around!
Our eyes are at risk of damage by UV radiation during a majority of the year, not just during the summer when the sun’s heat seems to bear down on us the most. Nowadays, most sunglasses are created to block both UVA and UVB rays – the two most common types of UV radiation which we encounter – but not all of them block radiation completely. When you purchase a pair of sunglasses, check the product tags or packaging to make sure that you are receiving full protection. If you do not see a clear indicator that the sunglasses you choose offer 100% UV protection, then it’s best to consider a different pair. Though manufacturers are becoming more and more aware of the need for 100% UV protection, many trendy pairs of sunglasses still do not provide it.
Besides making your day uncomfortable, exposure to UV rays puts you at risk of several eye conditions, including light-sensitivity, swelling of the eye, and photokeratitis (snow blindness) – an burning of the cornea caused by acute contact with very bright light. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can cause serious, irreversible damage. Conditions like cataracts, pterygium (overgrowth of the conjunctiva), pinguecula (eye degeneration), and even some forms of cancer (such as melanoma of the eyelids) have been linked to chronic UV radiation exposure.
There are many options available to help you better take care of your eyes, especially in the sun. Here at Raleigh Eye Center, we offer prescription sunglasses that can be custom fitted to your needs. If you wear eyeglasses, you might consider a pair of sunglasses that fit over them. Or you could consider tinting your lenses with a photochromic layer that offers full UVA and UVB protection. Don’t take your eyes for granted! If you need to pick up a new pair of sunglasses, come talk to us regardless of the season. Spring, summer, fall, or winter; your eyes need protection year-round!