Many people are cheered by a bright, sunny day, but the effect of all that sunlight on the eyes is a less sunny proposition. UV and glare can create a variety of issues, from dangerous "snowblindness" to irreversible disorders that threaten your eyesight. Here are some frequently asked questions about the role of sunglasses in protecting the eyes from harm. If you want to know more about choosing the right sunglasses, call us at 218-624-2095 or 218-727-6400 today.
What are UV rays? UV stands for ultraviolet, a band of spectrum invisible to the eye. Ultraviolet light consists of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. UVC rays are stopped in Earth's atmosphere before they reach the eye, but UVA and UVB can both reach the eye and potentially damage it.
How does UV affect unprotected eyes? UV rays can affect the eyes at a cellular level causing several different problems. Exposure to UV can cause the following:
- Corneal Sunburn also called photokeratitis, is the result of high short-term exposure to UV-B rays. Long hours at the beach or skiing without proper eye protection can cause this problem. It can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.
- Pterygium another UV-related problem is a growth called pterygium. This growth begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea. Eventually, the growth may block vision. It is common in people who work outside in the sun and wind.
- Skin Cancer around the eyelids is linked to prolonged UV exposure.
- Macular Degeneration UV rays may lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
- Cataract UV rays, especially UV-B rays, may also cause cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.
How do I know my glasses will protect my eyes? Choose glasses that claim to block at least 99 percent of UV rays -- UVA as well as UVB. Look for label reading "UV 400," since this designation means that the glasses block UV rays as small as 400 nanometers, providing 100 percent eye protection.
What are polarized lenses? Polarized lenses are specially designed to filter out certain types of glare that tend to radiate upward from horizontal surfaces when sunlight bounces off of these surfaces. They are recommended for tasks such as boating, fishing, skiing, golfing, jogging, and driving. Most polarized lenses will bear a label identifying them as such.
What types of glasses can I choose from? We are able to provide you with a wide range of sunglass options. If you normally wear glasses to correct your eyesight, you may choose to order prescription sunglasses or a lens that darkens when exposed to light. You may also be happy with a non-prescription pair of clip-ons or wraparound glasses that simply fit over your lenses.
For more information on choosing the right sunglasses, contact our office today.