Having a great pair of sunglasses is awesome, but if they don't have UV protection, you are missing out. Plus, you're putting the health of your eyes at risk. Find out how to tell if those shades you found in the drawer have UV protection or not by reading on.
What is UV?
Uv light, also known as ultraviolet light, is a type of electromagnetic radiation. The wavelengths measure from 10 nanometers to 400 nanometers which are shorter than visible light is and longer than X-rays are. Sunlight is a major source of UV light, putting out about 10% of the sun's total electromagnetic radiation.
Uv light can be damaging to your health. It can harm your eyes too. Exposure to UV rays over a period of time can cause conditions such as Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Pinguecula, and even cancer of the eyes. Needless to say, exposure to UV rays should be limited or blocked altogether.
UVA and UVB Light
UV rays can be broken down into two basic groups - UVA and UVB light. UVA light is very strong. It can penetrate through window glass. Wrinkles, fine lines and wrinkles, and eye damage can occur with this type of UV light unless you wear UV protection.
UVB is the culprit behind sunburns. It too is a type of UV light that can cause dangerous eye conditions, including cancer, Macular Degeneration, and many other conditions. UVA can be blocked with UV protection sunglasses though, just like UVA can be.
What is UV Protection?
In an attempt to detour UV rays, sunscreen is worn to shield skin from harmful rays. To protect eyes from UV rays, sunglasses UV protection were invented. The concept has become very popular as no one wants their eyes damaged by the sun's UV light.
There are several different types of UV protection available in sunglasses ranging from lenses that mildly help to lenses related to totally blocking out UV light with 100 UV protection.
Sunglasses UV Protection
One reason to wear sunglasses is the shield your eyes from the obnoxious sun's glare and to make a fashion statement. But the most important reason to wear sunglasses is so your eyes are UV protected. Since many sunglasses are made now that are UV protected, both UVA and UVB, you will want to make sure the pair of sunglasses you shop for will block sun damage. Wearing eyewear that protects from harmful sun rays is wise.
Even when the weather is cloudy. UV light can seep in and harm your eyes. Opticians are quick to advise patients to wear protective lenses even on cloudy days so their eyes don't get harmed.
Shop for Quality
When looking for eyewear to protect from the sun's harmful rays, it's a good idea to go to an eyewear store or optical clinic. But, you can find sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation light out in regular stores. Read the label or accompanying paper and never just assume. Your vision is too precious to take chances on. If you don't believe that, ask an optician who has witnessed patient ultraviolet damage.
Do All Dark Sunglasses Offer UV Protection?
Just because you have dark sunglasses on does not mean your eyesight is receiving protection. If the lenses of your dark sunglasses don't have UV protection inside them, your eyes can be harmed if exposed to UV light. The lenses must have a special formulation that makes them able to protect your eyesight from harmful rays when exposed to UV. Otherwise, all you may be doing is protecting your vision from the shine of the sun and nothing else.
Your vision can still be harmed even though the sun's shine is shielded. Glare is one thing but dangerous UV rays are another. Glasses that simply shield the sun are not enough. Invest in a pair of quality glasses that have lenses to filter out not just the light but the dangerous light as well.
To find out if a pair you are considering buying from an optical shop, sunglass store, or anywhere else has the special lenses, you can see if the label says they do. Some boast 100 protection while others may be UV 400.
To check for UV protection in sunglasses you already own, you can conduct the glasses protection test outlined in this article.
Do Cheap Sunglasses Have UV Protection?
There is no rule saying that inexpensive sunglasses don't have lenses that protect your eyes. Some may even have UV 400. The quality of glasses is not always found on the price tag. But, you should ask an optician or conduct testing on your own to ensure the bargain pair of sunglasses really are a good deal because if they don't protect your vision from harmful light rays, they aren't worth a dime of your money.
Which Sunglasses Have UV Protection?
Determining which sunglasses offer your lens protection in their senses is generally stated on a visible paper label. Or, if you are shopping at a vision specialty store or optician's clinic, you can inquire.
Polarized Lenses in Sunglasses
Polarized sunglasses are glasses that have lenses that filter out the horizontal light waves that tend to bounce off objects such as a body of water or the snow. The filter only lets vertical light in. The polarized lenses are perfect for safe driving so the sun's glare against the hood of the car or the pavement of the street doesn't block your view of the road.
Just because the lens of sunglasses is polarized does not mean they block UVA or UVB rays or provide any UV protection at all. Most high-quality polarized lenses, however, do have an adequate protective coating. By testing them or checking with an optician, you can be sure they are protecting your eyes.
Can Clear Glasses Have UV Protection?
Clear sunglasses can definitely offer protective material in the lens that is adequate to be sure your eyesight is kept free from damaging rays. The tint of sunglasses is nothing more than coloration added to the lens surface material or the formulation of the lenses. The tint has nothing to do with protection against harmful light.
How to Test for UV Protection in Your Sunglasses
Shielding your eyesight from damaging UV rays is imperative. That can mean the difference between dawning the old pair of shades you just found and wearing them for another season, or tossing them in the trash. That's how important it is to distinguish sunglasses that offer protection from those that don't.
If you're going to wear sunglasses, it only makes sense for them to offer some protection and ideally, 100 UV protection. Here are methods to testing for lens protection that opticians recommend:
Paper Money Sunglasses Testing
Use a UV flashlight and shine a visible light bean at paper money. Now, hold the UV flashlight so the light goes through the lens of your sunglasses. If you can see the security elements in the paper money that form a visible light that glows, but cannot see the visible light glow with your sunglasses on, your sunglasses are good to go.
Test UV Coating
UV protection in sunglasses can be on the coat or in the lens formulation. You can test the UV coating of your sunglasses in the exact manner described above.
If the UV flashlight shows a glow without the lenses involved but when the flashlight is shown through the lenses of the sunglasses, the visible light glow is no longer detectible then the UV coating on the sunglasses is sufficient.
In the event that when you direct the flashlight light through the lenses you can see the security markings glow, the sunglasses have failed the test. Don't rely on them.
Ask a Pro
You can always ask a professional if your sunglasses are doing the job in taking care of your vision. That's what they specialize in.
Decoding Protection Strengths
When shopping for sunglasses, you want lenses that have labeling boasting 100 UV protection. That means all of the damaging rays are blocked.
Keep in mind that UV 400 is a reference that is given to ultraviolet rays that are on the top end of the spectrum because they are 400-nanometre wavelengths. Quality sunglasses have a lens that offers this optimal formulation.
No matter how you slice it, 100 protection is what you should be looking for. After all, you deserve the best.
What to Know Before You Purchase UV Protection Sunglasses
Doing your homework on your sunglasses is important if you want to keep your vision healthy. And...who doesn't?
By keeping the information you've learned in the article in your thoughts, you will no doubt be able to choose the perfect sunglasses that look and fit great and provide awesome vision protection too.