When you're choosing sunglasses, does UV protection matter?
Answer From Cheryl Khanna, M.D.
Yes, ultraviolet (UV) eye protection matters. UV radiation from the sun can damage not only the skin of your eyelid but also the cornea, lens and other parts of the eye. UV exposure also contributes to the development of certain types of cataracts, growths on the eye and possibly macular degeneration.
To protect your eyes, look for sunglasses that:
- Block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays
- Screen out 75% to 90% of visible light
- Have lenses that are perfectly matched in color and free of distortions and imperfections
- Have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition
The color of the lenses and the degree of darkness the sunglasses provide have nothing to do with the sunglasses' ability to block UV rays. Opt for wraparound sunglasses or closefitting sunglasses with wide lenses that protect your eyes from every angle. Some contact lenses also offer UV protection, but should be worn in combination with sunglasses to maximize protection.
June 06, 2019
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- UV protection with contact lenses. American Optometric Association. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/uv-protection/uv-protection-with-contact-lenses. Accessed May 14, 2019.
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- UV protection. American Optometric Association. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/uv-protection?sso=y. Accessed May 15, 2019.