UV coating for sunglasses or eyeglasses may not be at the top of your priority list when you shop for new eyewear. But did you know the sun doesn’t have to be shining for harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays to potentially damage your eyes and the skin around them? Don’t let the clouds fool you: UV rays can reflect off of sand, water, snow, and buildings, even on the most overcast days. UV-coated glasses and UV-protective sunglasses feature a thin coating of UVA- and UVB-blocking material to protect your eyes outdoors. The UV coating can come standard with the product, as is true of many sunglasses, or from brands with proprietary lens technology. It can also be added to sunglasses or glasses after you purchase them, and it’s often offered as an add-on feature at no additional cost to you.
There are three types of ultraviolet radiation—UVA, UVB, and UVC. You probably don't hear much about UVC because the earth's ozone layer absorbs it, making its threat minimal to nonexistent. But both UVA and UVB (or simply, UV radiation) can cause short- and long-term damage to your eyes and your vision. When it comes to ultraviolet radiation, the sun poses a daily threat, but welding machines, tanning beds, and lasers can produce UV rays, too. UV protection on your glasses and sunglasses lenses may help prevent the damage UV radiation can do to your eyes. UV coating can be applied to any plastic or glass lenses for maximized protection.
Yes: UV coating on eyeglasses and sunglasses protects your eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Even short-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation without wearing UV-protective sunglasses or UV-coated eyeglasses can cause damage similar to a sunburn, but in your eyes, which may become red and puffy, or feel gritty, like you have sand in them. If you’re very sensitive to light, you may suffer from excessive tearing. Fortunately, these symptoms are usually temporary. But if your eyes are exposed to long-term solar radiation, you stand a greater risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.
Around ¼ of UV damage to your eyes occurs before the age of 20. For kids, increased periods outdoors in the summer months are prime times for heightened UV exposure. And for adults, activities like competing in marathons, together with the hours spent training, can be dangerous for the eyes. Sunglasses that offer UV protection are essential for keeping your eyes healthy throughout your lifetime.
Ideally, your sunglasses should offer UV400, which means they block 100% of UV rays. If you cannot verify from the sticker or information included with a pair of sunglasses that they are UV400, check to make sure the shades offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. They should also block 75 to 90 percent of all visible light to maximize protection. Be wary about buying sunglasses that are not UV-blocking glasses. The dark tint may allow your pupils to remain larger, exposing you to more harm from UV radiation. And anybody who spends a lot of time outdoors should consider wearing wraparound UV glasses to cut down the amount of UV radiation that may enter the eyes from the periphery.
Yes. Over time, the UV protection in sunglasses will decrease, but it will take years to do so. Wearers of UV protective sunglasses can best protect themselves in the long term by replacing their eyewear every several years. When shopping for the right style, make sure to consider the fit and temple coverage as well. These elements can contribute additional protection for those regularly exposed to heavy, direct sunlight.
No. The difference between the terms polarization or polarized sunglasses, and UV sunglasses, can be confusing. But polarization and UV protection are not the same thing, even if some companies advertise them together. Polarization refers to a lens’ ability to reduce haze and glare in bright sun, but polarization alone does not protect your eyes from UV radiation. While most polarized lenses are also UV-blocking glasses, make sure that both features are included when you purchase your sunglasses. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, "polarization is unrelated to UV protection, so you still need to ensure UV absorption of the lenses."
No amount of cleaning or exposure to heat will affect the protective qualities of sunglasses with UV protection embedded in the lenses. Choose a brand known for the quality of its lenseslike Wiley X, Maui Jim, or Ray-Banfor sunglasses that come standard with UV protection.
If you plan to step outside in your glasses, UV protection is an option worth considering. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says "UV coatings on prescription clear lenses are as effective as those on sunglasses." The AAO points out that it is not the dark tint that blocks the UV radiation, but the UV coating that is applied. Also, the type of lens material matters. According to the AAO, polycarbonate lenses and other high-index plastics, like Trivex, offer 100% UV protection. Photochromic lensesthose that darken when exposed to direct sunlighthave UV protection embedded in them. But the coating must be added to regular plastic lenses to make them UV-blocking glasses.
Adding a UV coating to your Rx lenses is easy, and often comes free with the lenses you order from FramesDirect.com. Our clear, protective lens coating blocks 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays and comes standard on all polycarbonate and high-index lenses. Without changing the color of the lens, the coating will completely defend your eyes against UVA and UVB rays.
Blue light-blocking lens treatment is among the newest available eye protection technologies. Most LED screens emit blue light, which can damage the retinas in your eyes, and also affects sleep patterns. Wearing blue-light-blocking lenses during prolonged computer or tablet use filters out blue light for enhanced safety and melatonin production at night.
In most cases, yes. Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection and they will also absorb most of the blue light, also known as HEV rays. Adding a UV coating to your eyeglasses may suffice to filter out blue light as well. But, since blue light is emitted from LED screens, while UV light is emitted from the sun, it may be worthwhile to opt for both coatings to ensure extra protection. Heavy gamers or wearers who spend long hours on a computer may even opt for lenses in bronze, copper, or a reddish-brown tint for the best protection against HEV rays.
FramesDirect offers thousands of sunglasses and eyeglasses from top designers and brands. Contact us with any questions about specific frames or how to add UV coating to your glasses.
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