UV Light & Your Eyes: What You Should Know
As we approach the height of summer, the topic of UV rays causing sunburn, premature ageing, and increasing the risk of skin cancer becomes more prevalent. So does our determination to apply sunscreen, cover-up, and take other precautions to shield our skin from UV damage. But here’s a question worth considering: How often do we think about protecting our eyes?
The truth is, prolonged and unrestricted exposure to UV rays can also have detrimental effects on our vision, resulting in vision loss, albeit temporarily. In this article, we will explore the often-overlooked topic of UV light and its potential impact on our eyes as well as the importance of protecting our eyes.
Understanding UV Light
UV light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is characterised by shorter wavelengths than those of visible light and is therefore invisible to the naked eye. UV light is classified into three types based on its wavelengths: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most of the UVC radiation as it has the shortest wavelengths, both UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the atmosphere and reach our eyes and skin.
On top of that, UV light can also be emitted by artificial sources such as tanning beds and lasers. By understanding the different types and sources of UV light, we can take appropriate measures to protect not only our skin but also our eyes.
The Effects of UV Light on the Eyes
UV light can have both immediate and long-term effects on our eyes. Short-term exposure to intense UV radiation can cause a condition known as photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn of the cornea. Symptoms may include redness, pain, tearing, and a gritty sensation in the eyes.
Similarly, excessive UV exposure can lead to photo conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva, causing symptoms such as redness, itching, and excessive tearing. While these conditions are usually temporary and resolve on their own, they can cause discomfort and temporary vision disturbances.
However, the long-term effects of cumulative UV exposure on the eyes are more concerning. Prolonged and repeated exposure to UV radiation, especially to UVB rays, has been linked to an increased risk of various eye conditions. Some of the most common include:
- Cataracts, a clouding of the eye's lens that leads to blurred vision (caused primarily by UVA exposure)
- Macular degeneration, the deterioration of key parts of the retina and a leading cause of vision loss in older adults (caused primarily by UVB exposure)
- Pingueculae and pterygia, unwanted and abnormal growths on the surface of the eye that can cause irritation, redness, and a distorted vision (caused primarily by UVB exposure)
These long-term effects highlight the importance of protecting our eyes from UV light and taking preventive measures to ensure the long-term health of our vision.
Protecting Your Eyes from UV Light
While wearing hats of various styles presents a good precautionary measure, the most effective way of shielding your eyes from UV radiation is by wearing high-quality sunglasses. These sunglasses are specifically designed with UV-blocking properties to effectively block both UVA and UVB rays to shield your eyes from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation.
By wearing sunglasses, you create a physical barrier between your eyes and the UV radiation present in sunlight. This barrier prevents the majority of UV rays from reaching your eyes, reducing the risk of short-term and long-term damage.
Sunglasses also provide coverage for not only the front of the eyes but also the delicate skin surrounding them. Wrap-around sunglasses or larger frames for example offer additional protection by minimising UV light from entering through the sides. This is particularly important as UV rays can reach the eyes from various angles, including reflections off surfaces like water, sand, or snow. By wearing sunglasses with ample coverage, you can significantly reduce the amount of UV light that reaches your eyes.
At Glasses2You, we offer a wide range of sunglasses that not only elevate your style but also prioritise your eye health. Our sunglasses feature UV-blocking lenses that are carefully crafted to filter out harmful UV rays, ensuring maximum protection for your eyes. Additionally, we also provide a number of prescription sunglasses, helping you protect your eyes while also aiding your vision needs.
If you’re looking for your new favourite adventure sunglasses, look no further than our Straightback - Oakley Sunglasses! These glasses with the perfect wrap-around style in a classic black offer you the most fashionable adventures this summer.
Or do you want your next pair of sunglasses to be environmentally friendly while also being effective in protecting your eyes? Our Waterhaul Fitzroy S in blue will be the perfect fit for you!
Check out our full selection of sunglasses! If you’re unsure of which glasses to go for, our guide on “How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Prescription Sunglasses for Your Summer Adventures” will help you find your ideal fit.
Protecting our eyes from harmful UV radiation is crucial for maintaining optimal eye health. UV light, whether from the sun or other sources, can have both immediate and long-term effects on our eyes, ranging from temporary discomfort to permanent vision loss.
Investing in high-quality sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection, polarised lenses, and ample coverage is one of the most effective ways to shield our eyes from UV radiation. By wearing sunglasses, we create a barrier that blocks the majority of UV rays from reaching our eyes, reducing the risk of sunburned corneas, inflammation, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions caused by UV exposure.
So, whether you're soaking up the sun, enjoying outdoor sports, or simply stepping outside on a bright day, make it a habit to wear UV-protective sunglasses. Prioritise your eye health, choose sunglasses that combine style and functionality at Glasses2You, and ensure you're protected from harmful UV light to be able to enjoy the world with clarity and safety.