Most of us have heard about how UV, which stands for ultraviolet radiation, is dangerous. It is invisible light, and only some of it is blocked by the ozone layer. It can cause sunburn and skin cancer. But UV isn’t just bad for your skin. It’s also harmful to your eyes. UV can be linked to plenty of eye problems, from eye strain and temporary vision loss (often called “Snow Blindness”) to cataracts. It can also cause macular degeneration, which is damage of the retina that can lead to permanent vision loss, through prolonged exposure to UV and blue light. As you head outside this summer (and during the rest of the year), it is important to be aware of the effects UV can have on your eyes, and to protect them.
We experience high risk of UV exposure in the great outdoors. Open spaces with sand, snow, or water are higher risk areas, as more UV is reflected off the light surfaces. You’ll find these conditions at the beach, ski slopes, or a lake. It is important to wear sunglasses when you are outside, especially in these settings. UV is also most intense around midday, when the sun is high in the sky. That doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t need to wear eye protection on cloudy days. Cloud cover does not block UV rays, and you are still at risk even when you can’t see the sun.
Because of the damaging effects of UV rays, and our high risk of exposure outside, it is important to purchase good sunglasses. When you choose sunglasses, keep UV in mind. Sunglass lenses have different levels of UV protection, and it’s important to choose a pair that is 100% UV blocking. It’s ideal to purchase a pair that have UV protection on both the front and back of the lenses, and styles that wrap around your face a bit protect your peripheral vision as well. Polarized lenses go a step further and block even more intense glare. Come by Good Looks Eyewear’s Cranberry or Pittsburgh locations to browse our selection of UV-blocking sunwear.