Protecting Your Eyes from Solar Radiation
The sun supports all life on our planet, but its life-giving rays also pose dangers. The sun’s primary danger is in the form of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is a component of solar radiation, but it can also be given off by artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds, and lasers. Most are aware of the harm UV radiation can do to the skin, but many may not realize that exposure to UV radiation can harm the eyes or that other components of solar radiation can also affect vision.
If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, you are likely to experience a painful effect called photokeratitis.
The longer the eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing later in life conditions such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Since it is not clear how much exposure to solar radiation will cause damage, the AOA recommends wearing quality sunglasses that offer UV protection and wearing a hat or cap with a wide brim whenever you spend time outdoors.
To provide adequate protection for your eyes, sunglasses should block out 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation and screen out 75 to 90% of visible light.
The lenses in sunglasses should be made from polycarbonate or Trivex® material if you participate in potentially eye-hazardous work or sports. These lenses provide the most impact resistance.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight, wrap around frames can provide additional protection from the harmful solar radiation.
Don’t forget protection for children and teenagers! Eighty percent of lifetime UV exposure occurs before age 18 because children typically spend more time in the sun than adults.
With the wide variety of lens options available, you can customize your sunglasses to meet your visual, protection, performance and comfort needs. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is present even on cloudy days.
Glare, an issue that makes it difficult to see objects clearly by washing out colors and details, can be reduced by polarized lenses. Looking at a scene with polarized lenses, you’ll notice the colors are deeper, richer and bolder, and details are clearer and more distinct. Polarized lenses also help reduce squinting, which, in turn, reduces eye fatigue, tension, and eyestrain.