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Sunglasses – More than Fashion

July is National Eye Injury Prevention Month and National UV Safety Month. We’re celebrating the best way we know how: with sunglasses.

Sunglasses work double duty. Not only do they serve as protection, both from projectile objects and dangerous ultraviolet rays, they can also be quite fashionable!

UV Safety for Your Eyes

Just like your skin, your eyes need protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation can cause damage or disease, including cataracts, macular degeneration, or pterygium—a growth on the clear tissue of the eye. No one is immune, not even children.

"Think of sunglasses as sunscreen for your eyes," said Dianna Seldomridge, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology in a recent article. "Your eyes need protection from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays just like your skin. Make sure your eyes are protected year-round. Harmful UV rays are present even on cloudy days."

Committing to wearing sunglasses when exposed to UV radiation is just step one. It’s critical to understand that not all sunglasses are created equally. A common misconception is that darker lenses mean the wearer has more UV protection – this isn’t necessarily true.

Make sure the sunglasses you choose blocks 99-100% of UVA and UVB radiation. Oftentimes the label will read “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “100% UV400 protection.”

By embracing sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer sun safely!


Eye Injury Prevention

Check out our related articles featuring valuable information about ways to keep your eyes healthy and free from catastrophic injury…

What to do when you have an eye injury

Eye protection at work

Preventing and caring for eye injuries