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The Importance of UVA and UVB Protection in Your Wood Sunglasses
Do you spend time outdoors?
Do you ski or snowboard?
Do you spend a lot of time on the road?
Do you love to go to the beach? The lake?
If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, it is crucial for you to wear sunglasses that provide the FDA recommended 100% UV protection. Being the coolest guy, or girl, on the beach or mountain is important but let’s step back and remember why we wear sunglasses. The wood sunglasses we wear protect our eyes from the harmful UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun.
What are UVA and UVB rays?
That sunlight that reaches Earth and us is comprised of two types of destructive rays; the long wave Ultraviolet A (UVA) and the short wave Ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA Rays comprise up to 95 percent of all the solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface and is present during daylight hours and throughout the winter months. UVB is the middle-range of UV light with medium range wavelengths. It responsible for burning, tanning, acceleration of skin aging and plays a very key role in the development of skin cancer. The intensity of UVB varies by season, location and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM between April and October. UVB rays do not penetrate glass.
These two types of harmful radiation can cause short term and long term impacts on the eyes and your eyesight. Excessive exposure to this radiation can lead to Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, Pterygium and Photokeratitis (snow blindness).
How do we protect our eyes from these harmful UVA and UVB Rays?
Well I’ve seen some pretty stylish frames at my local dollar store and my friendly neighborhood gas station, but that doesn’t mean that they provide the best protection for your vision. Not all sunglasses and lenses are created equal. You will need to find lenses that offer 100% UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays. If they don’t block out at least 100% of UVA and UVB rays, don’t buy them.
When purchasing a pair of sunglasses verify that the lenses included can and do offer this protection. If they don’t make this claim and it is spelled out clearly, don’t give those sunglasses a second look. Sunglasses that offer this protection don’t have to be pricey either, the higher the price does not indicate a greater level of protection. Look for lenses that are made from Polycarbonate, they are naturally designed to protect eyes against UVA and UVB rays. The color of the lens does not matter and darker lenses do not provide any higher level of protection. Choose a lens tint that is to your liking but most importantly offers you the protection you need.
Who is at risk to UV exposure?
The simple answer: anyone and everyone that spends time outdoors. This doesn’t mean to become a vampire and avoid sunlight altogether. We need sunlight. It is necessary for our physical and mental health. We need to be conscious of the sunlight and be prepared with sunglasses that provide the protection that our eyes need. There is even a greater need for sunglasses for those that enjoy water sports, winter sports and anyone that spends a large amount of time near sand and water. The reflection of UV radiation off of sand, snow and water only increases your eyes exposure to harmful UV rays. Surprisingly, cloud cover doesn't reduce UV levels significantly. Your risk of UV exposure can be quite high even on hazy or overcast days. This is because UV is invisible radiation, not visible light, and can penetrate clouds.
Additional Information on UVA and UVB Exposure
- Remember to wear sunglasses even when you're in the shade. Although shade reduces your UVA and UVB exposure to some degree, your eyes still will be exposed to UV rays reflected from buildings, roadways and other surfaces.
- Sunglasses are important especially in winter, because fresh snow can reflect 80 percent of UV rays, nearly doubling your overall exposure to solar UV radiation. If you ski or snowboard, choosing the right eyewear is essential for satisfactory UV protection on the slopes.
- Even if your contact lenses block UV rays, you still need sunglasses. UV-blocking contacts shield only the part of your eye under the lens. UV rays still can damage around the eye not covered by the lens. Wearing sunglasses protects these delicate tissues and the skin around your eyes from UV damage.
- If you have dark skin and eyes, you still need to wear sunglasses. Although your dark skin may give you a lower risk of skin cancer from UV radiation, your risk of eye damage from UV and HEV rays is the same as that of someone with fair skin.
Style, fashion and other characteristics should take a backseat to the real reason why sunglasses are important. Go out or go online and find sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection and preserve your eyesight today and for the future. Don’t let the glorious sun stop you from going outside.