Overexposure to bright sunlight can seriously damage your eyes, no matter what season of the year it is. Fortunately, it’s easy to protect your eyes from harmful radiation — all you need is a pair of UV-protected sunglasses.
Your eyes can be seriously damaged by the sun without proper UV protection. Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause problems such as:
When it comes to shielding your eyes from the sun, you’ll want to find sunglasses that include protection from UVA and UVB rays. These types of UV rays pose a threat to your eye health and can cause eye disease and damage, such as the ones listed above.
UVA rays can access your retina and the lens inside your eye by passing straight through the cornea. Damage from UVA rays can lead to problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
UVB rays are more extreme than UVA rays, although they do not penetrate the eye as deeply. The cornea absorbs radiation from UVB rays, which stops it from reaching internal structures like the lens and retina. However, overexposure to UVB rays can cause a corneal sunburn (snow blindness).
UVA protection and UVB protection are both vital.
Sunglasses with a rating of UV400 or higher are best for blocking UV rays. You may also see lenses labeled with “100% protection from UVA and UVB rays.” Both offer you protection from dangerous rays.
Protective lenses absorb the radiation through special lens materials or coatings that have been applied to prevent rays from passing through to your eyes.
When you get ready to spend a day in the sunshine, you’re likely to put on sunscreen to prevent a painful sunburn and to reduce your risk of skin damage. The same preparation should be taken for your eyes. And UV sunglasses are essentially sunscreen for your eyes.
Can sunglasses be both polarized and have UV protection? Do polarized sunglasses block UVA and UVB rays? Yes, both polarization and protection are possible, but it’s not always the case.
Polarized lenses add a benefit of reduced glare so you can enjoy the view of reflective surfaces more easily behind your shades. But you still need to verify that there is UV protection in order to keep your vision safe and comfortable.
It’s crucial to have verified UVA and UVB protection in your sunglasses in order to safeguard your eyes. Dark colored lenses do not indicate that there is UV protection just because they are dark, so always check the label or online description to be sure.
Remember, you’re looking for a rating of either UV400 or higher, or the criteria of 100% protection from UVA and UVB rays.
If you’ve already got a pair of sunglasses you love but don’t know whether or not they provide UV protection, ask your eye doctor’s office if they can test the lenses under a UV light meter or photometer. Most practices and optical shops have these instruments in-office.
Yes. UV protection in glasses is also an option and is standard in polycarbonate, photochromic, and high-index lenses. If you order a pair of standard plastic lenses, you’ll need to have the protective coating added.
Glasses with UV protection are especially favorable for those who work outdoors or spend a decent amount of time outside. UV glasses offer the same protection as UV sunglasses but without the darker lens, which can be distracting or impractical for certain activities.
Does a polycarbonate lens block UV light automatically? Yes, polycarbonate lenses have built-in UV protection. These lenses are also designed to withstand impact and are shatter resistant — a great choice for many adults and children.
The right pair of UV glasses or sunglasses depends on your lifestyle. Are you adventurous or outdoorsy, or do you have a passion for fashion? No matter what your hobbies are or what type of frame fits into your daily routine, there’s a perfect pair of UV glasses or sunglasses waiting for you.
Tip: Try oversized or wraparound frames. The more coverage you have, the more you’ll be able to prevent those rays from entering your eyes at any angle.
As you shop, be sure to check the details of your lenses for UV protection and add a special coating to your order if it is not already included (or embedded). Don’t forget, you can opt for prescription sunglasses with UV protection, too!
Some of our favorite sunglass styles to embrace in the sunshine include:
For the fashionista: Gucci GG0597S
For the outdoorsman: Oakley Crankshaft
For the poolside enthusiast: Nicole Miller Santorini Resort
For the kids: Ray-Ban Junior RJ9052SF New Wayfarer
And because the sun can damage more than just your eyes — be sure to include your other lines of defense on your next beach day. That means sunscreen, a hat with plenty of shade, an umbrella, and lots of water to stay hydrated!