Importance of UV Protection in Sunglasses

Spending time in the sun is likely one of your favorite pastimes during summer. It brings comfort and opens a world of exciting activities. While you bask outside, you must remember that the sun’s UV light can be dangerous in too big of doses. While there are advantages to moderate UV exposure, having it excessively can be dangerous to your eyes and skin.


What Are UV Rays?


Ultraviolet (UV) light is a component of light along the short wavelength range. In the language of light, short waves mean more energy. This much energy packs more than enough punch to damage biological life.


Types of UV Rays


The sun emits three primary types of ultraviolet (UV) light. These are as follows:


  • UVA: UVA light constitutes the largest portion of the UV spectrum that reaches our planet. It accounts for approximately 95 percent of the UV light absorbed by humans and animals. UVA light has a longer wavelength and can penetrate the skin deeply, leading to tanning.

  • UVB: UVB light is the second most abundant type of UV light. Upon entry, the Earth's atmosphere absorbs a significant amount of UVB. It has a shorter wavelength than UVA and cannot penetrate the skin as deeply.

  • UVC: UVC light has the shortest wavelength and is the rarest in the UV spectrum. Fortunately, the ozone layer absorbs UVC light, preventing it from reaching the Earth's surface or only allowing a minimal amount to pass through. Among the UV wavelengths, UVC is the most damaging.


UV Protection


According to the AAO, wearing glasses that block 99 to 100% of UV light is best. The only type of sunglasses that offer this level of protection are those with a UV protection rating of UV 400.


Why Is UV Protection Important in Sunglasses?


UV exposure affects your eyes both in the present and the future, especially as you age. Research suggests that by age 20, you have already experienced a significant portion of UV exposure. Experts say approximately a quarter of the total UV exposure you will accumulate in your lifetime happens by this time. Here are some eye conditions that can develop due to prolonged UV exposure:


Corneal Sunburn or Photokeratitis


The ocular surface absorbs most of the UV light that gets to it, even during winter or overcast days. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection is the most efficient defense against this. When outdoors, whether at the beach or in the sun, this is crucial.


Macular Degeneration


Macular degeneration stands as the primary cause of blindness among older Americans. Prolonged exposure to UV rays, particularly UVA rays, can contribute to its development. It occurs when the retina's central portion deteriorates due to extended exposure to UVA.




These growths that form on the sclera have the potential to extend to the cornea. Although not benign, these growths can significantly affect visual clarity. Wearing UV protection is crucial in preventing the formation of these growths.




UV exposure can expedite or induce the formation of cataracts even in individuals at a young age. Prolonged periods spent outdoors without UV protection can hasten the clouding of the eye's lens. To reduce the chance of developing cataracts, UV protection is crucial.


For more on the importance of UV protection in sunglasses, visit TMS Eyecare at our offices in Wichita or Arkansas City, Kansas. Call (316) 669-4760, (316) 686-7212​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, or (620) 442-2577 to book an appointment today.

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