The Danger of Ultraviolet Radiation To The Eyes

Protective Sunglass

In order to protect the eyes from the harmful solar radiation, sunglasses need to block 100% of UV rays and absorb high-energy visible (HEV) rays. Frames that has a close-fitting wraparound style offer the best protection as they limit how much stray sunlight reaches the eyes from above and beyond the periphery of the sunglass lens. While most people would prefer to ultraviolet radiation as UV light, the term is actually incorrect as one cannot see UV rays.

Outdoor Risk Factors


A person who always spends time outdoors is at a higher risk for eye problems from UV radiation. And the risk of the eye damage from UV and HEV exposure change everyday and this depends on the number of factors, such as:

  • Altitude - The UV levels are higher at higher altitudes
  • Geographic location - UV levels are higher in the tropical areas that are near the equator. The farther from the equator, the lesser risk.
  • Time of day - There is a higher level of UV and HEV when the sun is high (from 10:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m).
  • Medications - Some medications like sulfa drugs, tetracycline, diuretics, and tranquilizers increases the sensitivity of the body to UV and HEV radiation.

Surprisingly, cloud covering does not affect the levels of UV significantly. The risk of UV exposure can still be high even during hazy and overcast days. This is because of the fact that UV is an invisible radiation. This can penetrate clouds and not a visible light.


Sunglasses to Protect the Eyes from UV and HEV Rays


In order to protect the eyes from these harmful rays, it's best to wear good quality sunglasses when outdoors. Choose sunglasses that can block 100% of UV rays and absorb HEV rays. In this case, an optician can best help to get the best sunglasses lenses for your specific needs. Additionally, in order to protect the delicate skin around the eyes, try a pair of sunglasses with large lenses or a style that is close-fitting wraparound.

Protecting Eyes From UV and HEV

Considering your outdoor activities, you may want to try performance sunglasses or some sport sunglasses. It's a must to know, however, that the amount of protection by UV protection sunglasses has nothing to do with the darkness and color of the lenses. For instance, a light amber-colored lens can offer the same UV protection as a dark gray lens. The optician will verify that the lenses can provide 100% UV protection. On the other hand, in the case of HEV protection, the color matters. The majority of sunglass lenses that can block a significant amount of blue light will be copper, bronze, or reddish-brown. Again, the optician will help in choosing the best blue-blocking lenses.


Indeed, outdoor activities may pose some danger to our eyes, however, this should not be the reason for us to fear the sunny days and outdoors. As long as you keep yourself equipped with the right skin and eye protection that would reduce your UV expose, nothing to worry. At the same time, visit your eye doctor and seek advice. This way, you'll be confident that even when you're outdoors, you can always do things you love without worrying about your eyes.

[Photo Credits: By Drisbem and Ganang1 via Flickr]

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