With summer in full swing, the beach is calling, boating season is upon us, and the threat from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays has reached a peak. The sun supports life on our planet, but its life-giving rays also pose dangers.

Excess sun exposure can put you at risk for short- and long-term eye problems. This is true for people of all ages, year-round. Fortunately, prevention is simple. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation. But how do you know if your sunglasses are qualified for the task?

When shopping for sunglasses, always look for a tag or label that says 100% protection against both UVA and UVB or 100% protection against UV 400. UV protection is the essential piece you need to look for in a pair of sunglasses. Darkness, color and price tag do not indicate the strength of UV protection. Even inexpensive sunglasses can offer adequate protection.

If you no longer have the tag for your favorite pair of shades, take them to an optical shop like our Cortez location. Any shop that has a UV light meter can test your sunglasses.

There is no doubt about the negative impact of the sun’s rays on your eyes. UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours. Like a “sunburn of the eye,” photokeratitis can be painful. Symptoms include red eyes, a gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. These symptoms are usually temporary and rarely cause permanent damage to the eyes.

Long-term sun exposure is linked to more serious eye disease, such as cataracts and eye cancer. A lifetime of exposure also likely increases progression of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness.

To provide adequate protection for your eyes, sunglasses should:

  • block out 99% to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • screen out 75% to 90% of visible light

If you spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight, consider wearing wraparound frames for additional protection. Wearing a hat with a broad brim has also been shown to significantly cut exposure to harmful rays.

Don’t forget protection for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults. This is the time of year to get outside and enjoy Florida! Just keep the future bright and protect your sight. At Eye Center, Inc. we offer a wide selection of prescription and non-prescription sunglasses that meet these qualifications. Come in a grab a pair today!