Why Are Sunglasses Important?

It’s officially sunglasses season! As summer kicks off, it’s the perfect time to remind you why wearing sunglasses is essential. Protecting your eyes from UV rays is crucial, and understanding how these rays affect your eyes can help you pick the perfect pair of shades. Carry on reading to find out more.

What are UV rays?

The sun emits three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC is deemed the most dangerous because it has the highest energy levels, but it is fortunately absorbed by the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

In contrast, UVA and UVB rays enter the atmosphere and pose various health risks, including premature skin ageing, eye damage, and skin cancers. UVA rays can deeply penetrate the eye, potentially causing long-term retinal damage, while UVB rays mainly affect the eye’s surface and cornea, they can cause quicker, noticeable effects.

UV exposure

Prolonged UV exposure and eye health

Prolonged exposure to UV rays increases the risk of developing several eye conditions:

  • Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s lens caused by a breakdown in protein in the lens. Cataracts and UV exposure can lead to sight loss over time.

  • Macular degeneration: This is damage to the retina that can result in loss of central vision, and it is primarily influenced by UVA exposure.

  • Photokeratitis: Essentially a sunburn of the cornea, causing pain, redness, and temporary vision loss due to intense UVB exposure.

So why are sunglasses important?

Sunglasses are designed to block UV rays from reaching your eyes. Not to be confused with the tint of the glasses, the lenses have a special coating that absorbs and reflects UV, preventing it from passing through the lens into your eyes.

look for in sunglasses

What to look for in sunglasses

When investing in a pair of sunglasses, consider three essential features:

  1. 100% UV protection—All sunglasses available at our office block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Beware of cheaper options with dark lenses but no UV filter, as these can do more harm than good.

  2. Polarized lenses – These offer superior protection and comfort by blocking all UV rays and reducing horizontal glare from reflective surfaces like the sea and swimming pools.

  3. Wraparound style – For complete coverage, choose wraparound sunglasses that protect your eyes from all angles.

Visit us today

For more advice and to find the perfect pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes this summer, contact or visit us at Montana Eyecare in Helena, Montana.