The importance of protecting your eyes from the sun is often overlooked. Although sunglasses are a fashionable accessory, they also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays that have the potential to sunburn your eyes. The cornea of the eye is composed of epithelial tissue (similar to the skin) which is why your eyes are just as susceptible to the sun. When the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed (keratitis), it can be quite painful. In addition, excessive sun exposure can increase the risk of developing cataracts – the leading cause of blindness in the world. You may not be able to see or feel UV rays, but your eyes are exposed to them every time you step outside.

Whether you’re spending a day at the beach, doing some gardening in your backyard, or playing outdoors, here are 10 helpful tips to maximize your eye protection so you can have fun under the sun:

  1. Look for sunglasses that block 99% or 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Most eye damage is a result of UVB rays, which may also contribute to cataract development and eye cancer. Did you know that 47% of people who wear sunglasses don’t check UV ratings before they make a purchase? See this Sun Smart UV Safety Infographic for more facts and statistics.
  1. Although a darker tint of sunglasses may be preferred, the UV blocking coating will be the same regardless of color.
  2. Ensure that your sunglasses are large enough to completely cover the eye to prevent sunlight from getting in through the sides. Wraparound sunglasses provide full coverage to seal out all UV rays.
  1. If you spend a lot of time working or doing activities outdoors (especially on the water), you may want to consider polarized lenses that reduce glare. Keep in mind that polarization and UV protection are two different things. While UV protection saves your eyes from damage from the sun’s harmful rays, polarized lenses work to filter out light so that you experience fewer glares. If you opt for polarized lenses, be sure to check that they also have UV protection.
  2. This may be obvious, but never look directly at the sun! Doing so can cause damage to the retina of the eye.
  3. Wear a wide brimmed hat for added protection. This will help keep the rays off your face and out of your eyes, which is especially important if you’re spending the entire day in the sun.
  1. Since children’s eyes transmit more UVA rays to the retina than adults, it’s important that eye protection is instilled at an early age to reduce the risk of eye damage later on. In addition, damage from UV exposure in cumulative and often irreversible. This puts everyone at risk for eye damage from the sun.
  2. If you wear contact lenses, you may be protecting your eyes from the sun without even knowing it. This is because some contact lenses provide UV protection. If you’re interested in UV blocking contact lenses, talk to your eye care professional as the level of protection varies depending on the brand.
  3. If you wear eyeglasses 24/7, you may want to consider investing in a pair of prescription sunglasses or transition lenses that adapt to changing light and block UVA and UVB rays.
  4. Make sunglasses a daily habit. Even though the sun may be brighter and stronger in the summer months, damage to the eyes can happen at anytime during the year. This is why it’s important to protect your eyes all year round. Don’t be fooled by clouds either, because even when the sun isn’t shining brightly there are still UV rays.

Finding the Perfect Sunglassess

At Marano Eye Care we offer a range of corrective options for your eyes. If you would like to give your eyes the protection they deserve by investing in a good pair of sunglasses, we invite you to visit our optical store where we carry a large selection of designer frames for eyeglasses and sunglasses, transition lenses and more. We would be happy to help you choose a quality pair of sunglasses that fit right and will protect your eyes. Sunglasses can be both flattering and functional! In addition, our other eye care services include comprehensive eye exams, LASIK eye surgery and Botox. For more information on any of our services or procedures, don’t hesitate to contact us today! We have two convenient locations in New Jersey to serve you better!