Summer is in full swing – and that means you’re probably spending a lot of time sporting your favorite pair of shades. Whether you’re aiming for fashion or function, your sunglasses are key to ensuring you can enjoy your time in the summer sun while remaining protected from its harmful UV rays.

But did you ever stop to think why sunglasses have UV protection in the first place? What is it about UV rays that make them so dangerous for our eyes?

As it turns out, our eyes are similar to our skin in that they can get damaged by spending too much time in the sun. This happens when eyes are left exposed to two kinds of UV rays, Ultra Violet A&B (UVA & UVB). The first UVA – has the ability to penetrate the eye all the way to the macula, which is part of the retina, and can lead to the development of macular degeneration. This disease causes central vision loss and, in rare cases, permanent blindness.

The second type of UV ray is UVB, which doesn’t make it to the retina but instead affects other important parts of the eye, like the lens and cornea. UVB rays have the potential to cause a sunburn on your cornea (yes, it’s possible!) leading to the development of cataracts.

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These UV rays are precisely why sunglasses should be a crucial part of your outdoor gear. Look for sunglasses that offer 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays; this will usually be marked by a sticker on the lens or in the sunglasses’ packaging. Don’t settle for anything less – after all, your eye health depends on it!

 

Want to learn more about how you can keep your eyes healthy and happy this summer? Schedule a consultation with ophthalmologist Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA today. 703-834-9777

 

NewView Eye Center serves the greater Washington, DC metro area.