Sunglasses and UV Awareness

May 1, 2013

Sunglasses can provide UV Protection for your eyes, reduce eyestrain in bright conditions, and protect you from flying debris and other hazards from outdoor conditions. Sunglasses can also provide visual comfort and clarity, depending on the lens you purchase. Having a quality pair of sunglasses can be vital to your overall ocular health in addition to providing clarity of vision and reducing glare. Ocular conditions like pinguecula, pterygium, cataracts, and ocular melanoma can be caused or made more severe by extensive unprotected exposure to sunlight.

UV Rays

UV rays can penetrate cells and cause mild to severe damage; UVA, UVB, and UVC rays can all be harmful, especially when no protection methods are adhered to. The amount of sunlight exposure and skin sensitivity will affect the redness of the skin; DNA damage can be directly caused by UVB light y causing aberrant covalent bonds (an abnormality) between DNA molecules in the skin cells. DNA then replicates with a mutation in it which can then result in cancerous growth. The DNA replication damage has a signature on it that points to UV light as the cause. Sunscreen blocks UVB, an important factor in reducing skin cancers, including skin cancers around the ocular area.

UVB light can be hazardous to the health of the eye itself, in addition to causing complications to the skin surrounding the eye. Photokeratitis, or arc eye, is frequently noted in welders; this condition is highly preventable condition caused by intense UV exposure without adequate protection. Pterygia and pingueculae may form from prolonged, unprotected exposure to sunlight, wind, and other outdoor conditions. Cataracts and certain ocular melanomas may be caused or expedited in development by long-term exposure to UV light.

Prevention is key in the fight against conditions and diseases related to UV exposure. Quality UV-protecting eyewear is vital for providing a barrier through which harmful rays cannot pass, or through which they have a difficult time passing. Investing in a quality pair of sunglasses (and protective eyewear if you do welding work) is an investment in your eye health; while they may be more costly than an inexpensive pair, quality lenses last longer and provide more protection for your eye health and eyesight