With record temperatures hitting us daily, protecting your eyes from sun damage is even more critical than ever. How much do you know about the harmful effects of UV exposure?
Overview Harmful Effects
While most people recognize the connection between sun exposure and skin cancer, fewer than one
in three Americans realize the hazards of ultraviolet (UV) exposure to the eyes and only 24 percent
know that UV exposure can cause cataracts.
UV radiation cannot be seen or felt, but both UVA and UVB rays can cause short and long term
damage to the eyes, even acute visual impairment. UV damage over a period of time cannot be
• Short-term Effects: Sunburn of the eye or photokeratitis.
• Long-term Effects: Pinguecula, pterygium, cataract, damage to the retina, cancer, agerelated
macular degeneration (AMD).
• High Energy Visible (HEV) radiation has been implicated as a contributing factor of AMD
along with a variety of other eye health issues.
• Children receive up to three times the annual sun exposure of adults.
• Almost 50 percent of parents report that their children “seldom” or “never” wear sunglasses
with 100 percent UV protection.
• Children’s eyes are especially susceptible to UV-related harm because the crystalline lenses
in their eyes are more transparent to UV than for adults. Unlike the mature lens of an adult
eye, a child’s lens filters out less UV rays so more radiation reaches the retina.
• Every day, whether sunny or cloudy and despite the season, we are exposed to UV radiation
from the sun.
• Overcast skies still allow 31 percent of solar radiation to reach the earth, so eyes need
protection on cloudy days as well.
• UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• For the eyes and ocular surfaces the risks of UV rays are greater from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. and
from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
• At the beach, sand and water can reflect an additional 25 percent of UV; on a snow covered
surface, as much as 80 percent of UV may be reflected – adding to the initial exposure.
Protection Sun Safe Tips
• Think of outdoor eyewear as an essential part of your eye care plan.
• Protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of UV radiation is simple; always wear
outdoor eyewear with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection while outdoors.
• Get kids into sunglasses when outdoors and find the styles and colors they will want to
• Choose frames that deliver the best protection like wraparound sunglasses or consider
glasses with wide temples that help block the sun from side angles and behind. Be aware
that some of the wider temples can also block side vision so choose wisely.
Our staff at MyOptics is highly qualified and happy to help you choose sunglasses that will protect you in whatever type of outdoor lifestyle you live. Stop by and check out our inventory from brands such as Maui Jim, Oakley, Ray Ban, and Vera Wang.
For additional information about the damaging effects of UV exposure, seeking protection and tips
for selecting sunglasses, visit:
• The Vision Council - Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe Report