Many people understand the importance of applying sunscreen when spending the day in the sun and being aware of the damaging effects that UV rays can have on their skin, including causing cancer. They may not realize that those same UV rays can cause damage to their eyes and their vision. That’s why it’s important to ensure that glasses lenses you get include UV protection. Most UV protective lenses have a clear, UV-blocking film or dye embedded within the lens, so it won’t scratch or wear off.
Why Do Your Eyes Need UV Protection?
If you’ve ever been out on a bright and sunny day without sunglasses, you may have felt the short-term effects of too much UV exposure to your eyes. That UV radiation can inflame your corneas and cause red eyes, a burning sensation or gritty feeling, sensitivity to light, and increased tear production. Fortunately, those effects are only temporary.
However, long-term exposure to UV radiation has been shown to increase your risk of developing cataracts, retinal damage, macular degeneration, and even Pterygia (visible growths on the eyes).
What’s the Difference Between UV Lenses and Sunglasses?
Although they have similarities, UV protective lenses and sunglasses are not the same thing. Sunglasses have darkened lenses, but UV protective lenses can be clear. That means they can protect your eyes on both sunny and cloudy days (UV is still present when it’s cloudy), and you can enjoy the convenience of having one pair of glasses for both indoor and outdoor use. Additionally, UV protective lenses block 99% of the sun’s UV rays, not all sunglasses do. If you want the best of both worlds, consider Transition lenses which become darker when exposed to bright light.
Can I Get Contacts with UV Protection?
While you can get contacts that block UV rays, it’s important to understand that your contacts don’t cover your entire eye area. UV protection contacts will block UV rays from reaching your cornea and retina, but they don’t cover the conjunctiva, the skin of the eyelids or brow bone. Also, people tend to not apply sunscreen around their eyes because it might sting, but a Review of Optometry reports that 5-10% of skin cancers occur around the eye. So even if you do get UV protection contact lenses, be sure to also wear sunglasses with 99% UVA/UVB protection when outdoors.
Trust Tyson Eye
Tyson Eye is regarded as one of the premier eye care centers in Southwest Florida. Our surgeons and doctors have helped thousands of people enjoy better vision and have consistently introduced break-through technology to the area. Tyson Eye is committed to excellence by delivering modern technology with old fashioned concern.
You can trust us with to help protect your vision and to keep you seeing your best. Contact us to request an appointment today or call 239-542-2020.