How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays

June 6, 2022  |  eye protection, glasses, vision care
A toddler wearing sunglasses and smiling

Whenever you are outside under the sun, your eyes are under constant assault from ultraviolet (UV) rays.  


Most people know about the risks UV rays pose to their skin, but exposure to UV rays increases the risk for eye disease as well.  


Sunglasses are one of the best ways to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but there are other steps you can take to help reduce your risk.  


This article will give you a few methods of protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. 


UV Rays and the Damage they Cause Your Eyes 


The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends choosing a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim all the way around. 

  • Wear a baseball cap or visor. Baseball caps and visors shade your eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, and the top of your nose. Be sure to wear sunblock to protect the rest of your face.  

  • Wide-brimmed hat. A wide brim all the way around shades your eyes, eyelids, and the sides of your face. Some hats even have flaps to protect your ears and the back of your neck from sun damage. 


Wear polarized sunglasses. 


One of the best ways to protect your eyes from UV rays is to wear polarized sunglasses.  


Polarized sunglasses reduce glare, which makes them great for outdoor activities like fishing, boating, and skiing. However, polarized lenses are not recommended for driving or flying as they can interfere with the visibility of instrument displays.  


Lastly, people with light sensitivity (such as migraine sufferers) should consult their physician before purchasing polarized lenses. 


Choose proper eyewear if you participate in sports. 


If you enjoy participating in sports or other activities that involve exposure to the sun, your best bet is to purchase sport-safe sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses.  


For example, if you play golf, you can choose protective eyewear specifically designed for golfers. If you wear eyeglasses, have an ophthalmologist check to make sure that the lenses protect your eyes against UV rays. 


Polycarbonate lenses are an excellent choice because they block 100% UV radiation and are durable and lightweight. 


Make sure your prescription eyeglasses have UV protection. 


If you wear prescription eyeglasses, it's even more important that you ask your eye care provider to include UV-protective lenses in your glasses.  


Although prescription sunglasses can be an option for you, remember that many people do not realize that tinted or darkened lenses on sunglasses are not enough to protect eyes from UV rays—you must check for a sticker or label that says the lenses block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. 


In addition, make sure the sunglasses offer full UV 400 protection. This means the lens provides protection from wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which is what most experts consider sufficient protection from the sun's radiation.  


Limit your time outdoors on sunny days to between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when rays are strongest. 


One of the most important tips for protecting yourself from UV rays is to limit your time outdoors on sunny days, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when rays are strongest (the closer to noon, the stronger the rays). Even if it is overcast, you can still be at risk for eye damage from UV rays—they penetrate clouds! 


So, what should you do if you must go outside during peak hours? Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats and seek shade whenever possible.  


Also, keep in mind that UV exposure increases at higher altitudes and the closer you are to the equator (where the atmosphere is thinner). So even if it feels safe under a thick forest canopy or by a lake on a cloudy day, you should still protect yourself with sunglasses and hats when outdoors. 


Finally, be sure to use protective eyewear near water, snow, sand, and other reflective surfaces that can intensify UV radiation exposure. 


These Simple Steps Save Your Eyes 


Taking these simple steps can help keep you from developing cataracts, macular degeneration or even skin cancer around your eyes. 


It is important to protect your eyes from UV rays. You can do this by making sure the sunglasses you wear have UV protection and by wearing a hat with a brim that shades your face.  


Make sure you are wearing sunglasses when you go outside. This is especially important for children, who are more susceptible to eye damage than adults. 


If you are looking for the best glasses when it comes to UV protection, then look no further than Oxford Family Vision Center in Oxford. We have all the most fashionable frames at prices that cannot be beaten.  


Sign up for an appointment to have your eye health evaluated or stop by the store to browse our wide selection of frames.  


Make an appointment here!