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Everyone Looks Good In a Nice Pair of Shades

It is important that your realize UV radiation effects all parts of our bodies, including our eyes.  UV rays have been proven to cause various eye problems, such as pterygium, cataracts, sunburn to the eyelids, skin cancer around the eyes and even macular degeneration, which is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older Americans.  These conditions can cause blurred vision, redness, irritation, tearing, temporary vision loss, and blindness.
According to Health Center Today, UV radiation is one of the greatest threats to the eyes; research shows the threat of eye damage is three times greater in the summer than in the winter months. 

Know your UV’s:
UVC rays:

  • Highest energy rays could potentially be the most harmful to your eyes and skin. (Heiting, OD, 2009)
  • The ozone blocks most UVC rays.  However, with the depletion of the ozone, more UVC rays will pass through to the earth’s surface causing more serious UV-related health problems in the future.

UVB rays:

  • These types of rays are filtered partially by the ozone but can still cause skin and eye damage.
  • UVB rays are what gives us the darker color to our skin tones (sun tan).
  • In higher doses, UVB rays can cause extreme sunburns that increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • These rays can also cause;
    • Skin discoloration
    • Wrinkles
    • Pre-mature aging

UVA rays:

  • These are the most visible light rays.
  • They have lower energy than UVC and UVB rays.
  • These rays can pass through one’s eye cornea and reach the lens and then the retina.
  • Learn about UV 400.  They are very important.

What is HEV?

  • High-energy visible radiation (HEV) is also known as the blue light.
    • They have longer wavelengths and lower energy than regular UV rays.
    • These rays can still penetrate deep into the eye causing retinal damage.

Outdoor Risk for the Eyes:

  • Geographic location: the farther you are from the equator the smaller your risk will be from UV ray damage.
  • Altitude: the UV risk is greater at higher altitudes.
  • Time of day: UV rays are greater when the sun is at its highest peak - between 10am and 2pm.
  • Place Setting: you chance a greater UV risk when in a wide open area, especially when around snow and sand.
  • Medications: certain medications will increase your body’s sensitivity to UV rays: consult your physician for more information.

Please note: Your risk for UV exposure is still high on hazy or overcast days. 

    • Q.  Why?
    • A.   UV is invisible radiation, not visible light

Allaboutvision.com provides a UV Protection Recommendation chart and also includes a link that you can follow to see how high UV levels are where you live - check it out!

How to: Protect your eyes & find the right pair of shades

  • Wear sunglasses!
    • Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays and most HEV rays.
    • The color of lens does not matter if you are just looking to block out UV rays.
    • If you are looking to block out the HEV rays, choose a lens color that is bronze, copper or reddish brown.  These colors help block out the “blue light.”
    • The bigger the lens the better protection it provides.
    • It is best to wear wraparound sunglasses for ultimate protection.
    • Performance sunglasses and sport sunglasses are available if your lifestyle demands it.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat - studies show that wearing a wide-brimmed hat on sunny days can reduce your eyes exposure to UV and HEV rays by 50 percent (Heiting, OD, 2009).

How to: Choose the right pair of shades
What to consider when buying sunglasses:
Recommended Sunglasses:
Protect your vision all year long, my friends!

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