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Sun Damage - How Can I Protect My Eyes From the Sun?

The sun is an excellent source of Vitamin D, and many of us love to lay in the sunlight and bask in the heat, but there are downsides to exposing ourselves to the sun. Not only do you risk burning our skin, but we also risk damaging you eyesight. It might not seem like a big deal, even if you're not facing the sun, but it does add up and at Scope Optometry we've treated patients who didn't take care of their eyes when outside. Below are a few ways to protect your eyes while in the sun. Before we discuss how to protect your eyes from the sun, let's discuss the two types of UV rays and how they can damage your vision. UV-B rays affect the lens and the cornea of the eye, which will cause more damage than the UV-A rays. UV-A rays affect your central vision and damage your retinas.

Sunglasses

The best sunglasses to have that will protect your eyes from the sun the most are the ones that block both UV-A and UV-B rays completely and anywhere from 75% to 90% of visible light. Depending on your activities and the time of year, you might need more than one pair of sunglasses. If you're participating in hazardous work, you'll likely want polycarbonate lenses. If you want to reduce the glare from water or snow, then you need polarized lenses.

Protective Contacts

If you wear contact lenses, you'll be happy to know that there are contacts that do protect against UV rays; Class I and Class II. Class II contact lenses block 95% of UVB and 70% of UVA rays, while Class I contact lenses block 100% of UVB and 96% of UVA rays. When you purchase contacts over the counter, the box will tell you if the contacts block UV rays and to which percentage.

If You Wear Glasses

If you wear glasses, there are several options you can take to protect your eyes. There are clip-on sunglasses that block UV rays, prescription sunglasses, you can switch to contacts, and transition lenses that darken when you go outside. One drawback of the transition lenses is that they don't get as dark as a pair of sunglasses, and it can take a few minutes to clear when you go inside.

Whether you wear UV-blocking contacts, prescription sunglasses, or wide-brimmed UPF hats, protecting your vision is of the utmost importance. Not only are you protecting your eyes, but you're also protecting the skin around your eyes from the UV rays. If you notice that your transition lenses don't darken while driving in a vehicle, that's because the windshield blocks most of the UV light. To make sure you're eyes remain healthy, we recommend scheduling an appointment today.

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