Sunglasses and Their UV Rating: What It Means for Your Eyes
Almost all brands of sunglasses available in Alberta tout their UV protection. Have you ever wondered what that really means? Let’s find out.
While most people purchase sunglasses based on how they look, we feel that how they protect your eyes from UV radiation is more important from a health perspective. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy a snazzy pair of sunglasses; it just means that there is more to a pair of sunglasses than how they look.
The Basics of UV Rays
UV radiation (often referred to as UV rays) can have a significant impact on your health, and on your eyes in particular. Many people understand how too much sun can damage your skin (and contribute towards skin cancer and other conditions), but a surprisingly large number of people don’t have the same understanding with respect to how UV radiation interacts with your eyes.
There are three types of UV rays:
- UVA – These rays pass through glass easily. These rays can help cause cataracts and macular degeneration.
- UVB – These rays are the most dangerous and are the main reason that sunglasses and sunscreen are important. They do not pass through glass.
- UVC – These rays are filtered out by our atmosphere.
UV light occupies the part of the spectrum that is just outside our ability to see. It’s also important to remember that UVA and UVB rays can pass through clouds, meaning that sunscreen and sunglasses are important even on cloudy days.
How Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes
Sunglasses are rated based on the wavelengths of UV light that they block. For example, if a pair of sunglasses are rated as “UV 400”, this means that they block rays of light up to 400 nanometres. Sunglasses rated for “UV 400” block between 99 and 100% of UV rays on both the UVA and UVB spectrum.
We recommend that you invest in a high quality pair of UV 400-rated sunglasses for maximum protection.
In addition to UV protection, many sunglass lenses protect your eyes in other ways. While the list below is far from complete, it outlines some of the more common types of protection offered by different types of sunglass lenses.
- Blue filtering lenses – Recent studies have supported the idea that blue light can be harmful to our eyes. Many types of lenses and coatings exist to filter out blue light.
- Anti-reflective lenses – Anti-reflective coatings and polarized lenses can significantly reduce the glare on your eyes.
- Mirror coatings – Mirror coated lenses reflect a much larger percentage of light compared to non-mirrored lenses, reducing how much light and glare reach the eyes.
- Photochromic lenses – These lenses darken as they are exposed to UV light. Think of them as sunglasses on demand.
Looking For a New Pair of Sunglasses? Try Ours on For Size!
We carry today’s most popular brands – like Maui Jim and kate spade new york – in a variety of styles and lens options. We have locations in Red Deer, Rimbey, and Rocky Mountain House (click here to find our locations). Come check us out!