Most people who have sunburned themselves appreciate the need for UV protection. However, ultraviolet radiation does more than cause sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer. It can cause cumulative damage to the eyes that may eventually cause or accelerate age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. Cataracts cause the eye lens to slowly lose its transparency, while macular degeneration causes blind spots in your central vision. Another UV risk for those who hike or ski in the snow, or do boating in open water is snow blindness, which is essentially a sunburned eye.
Even people who don’t spend hours at a time in intense sunlight, are exposed to UV radiation. This happens even on overcast days. Many people find this difficult to believe given that we don’t associate sunburn with cloudy weather. If the sun doesn’t seem strong enough to cause sunburn, then it can’t harm your eyes, right? Wrong.
There are two types of UV: UVA and UVB. UVB causes sunburn and snow blindness. It doesn’t penetrate deeply into the skin or the eyes. On the other hand, UVA causes neither sunburn nor snow blindness, but penetrates more deeply into the skin and the eyes. UVA increases the risk of age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. It readily penetrates cloud cover, which means you need eye protection even on days when you don’t feel the need for sunglasses.
If you need prescription glasses, you can take advantage of prescription lens options that protect against UV, without having to get tinted sunglasses. This means you get UV protection all the time while wearing your regular eyeglasses. There are two ways to do this. You can choose a lens material that has a built-in UV blocking capability, or get a UV protective coating on your lens.
Both polycarbonate and Trivex lenses block all UV radiation. Both lens materials also have excellent impact resistance to shattering. Trivex is more expensive but has a better optical quality than polycarbonate. If you’re using another type of lens material, then a UV coating is an economical solution.
For more information about prescription lens options and answers to your questions, contact us today.