Important Facts to Help Protect Your Eyes from UV Radiation

April 18, 2017

When enjoying the great outdoors with family and friends, it’s sometimes easy to forget sun exposure can not only damage your skin, but your eyes too.

Understanding the effects of UV radiation on your eyes is an important step in learning how to protect your eyesight. To keep your eyes healthy, use these facts from the eye experts at Nationwide Vision to protect yours sight when exposed to sunlight.

Types of UV Radiation

There are three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.

  • UVA: This type of UV radiation is 30 to 50 times more common, accounting for about 95% of surface UV radiation. These rays can lead to long-term damage of exposed cells, including skin and eyes.
  • UVB: These shorter rays cannot penetrate deeper skin layers, but these UV rays will bounce off reflective surfaces, increasing the risk of exposure and damage.  Most UVB rays are filtered by the atmosphere, but you are more likely to be exposed to UVB rays if you are at higher altitudes. 
  • UVC: This is considered the most damaging type of UV radiation, but fortunately, the earth's atmosphere entirely filters out UVC rays, preventing them from reaching the earth's surface.

When it comes to our eyes, we are only concerned with the UVA and UVB rays.

A high percentage UVB light can reflect from the following surfaces:

  • 100 percent from water
  • 85 percent from snow
  • 25 percent from sand and concrete
  • 3 percent from glass

Important Facts About UV Radiation

There are many variables to be aware of when it comes to protecting your eyes against UV radiation.

Most people don’t realize that UV levels can vary greatly depending on geographic location. Arizona is known as a "danger zone" for UV radiation because many of its residents are exposed to high to extreme levels of UV rays for at least 200 days a year, so it is especially important for you to understand the effects of UV radiation:

  • The eyes are exposed more often to UV rays during the morning hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and the late afternoon hours of 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Because of immature lenses, children have a higher risk of UV-related vision damage.
  • Exposure to UV rays can add up over time, resulting in long-term vision problems.
  • Close to 60 percent of adults choose not to wear sunglasses when it’s cloudy even though UV rays are strong during cloudy weather.

Protect Your Eyes From Ultraviolet Rays

At least 94 percent of people incorrectly believe that UV rays only impact your vision momentarily and do not cause long-term vision problems. On the contrary, ultraviolet rays do directly affect the eyes, increasing the risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye.

To ensure proper eye health, always remember to wear sunglasses. Just like you wear sunscreen to protect your skin, you need to rely on sunglasses to act as the barrier between your eyes and UV radiation.

Contact Us For More Information About Eye Protection

All of our Nationwide Vision locations can provide patients with the appropriate eyewear to protect against UV radiation. With the proper sunglasses or customized eyewear, you can enjoy a day out in the sun.

Call us at (877) 222-4281 to find out more about what type of sunglasses we offer, including popular brands.

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