You have probably heard your optometrist recommending wearing ultraviolet (UV) blocking sunglasses when going outside during the day. Even when it’s cloudy, you must still wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Keep in mind that not all sunglasses are made equal.
Read on to find out how you can tell if yours are really protecting your eyes against UV rays.
Know What to Look for in Sunglasses
Sunglasses with UV 400 protection blocks almost 100% of UV rays. This eyewear prevents light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers from entering your eyes. For a pair of sunglasses to be considered UV-protective, they must be able to block 75% to 90% of visible light. They must also provide UVA and UVB protection to block 99% of UV rays. Before purchasing a new pair, check its label to see how much UV protection it can offer. Choose one that offers 100% protection from UVA and UVB rays.
It’s a good idea to ask your eye doctor about wrap-around sunglasses. They prevent UV rays from reaching all angles of your eyes, resulting in better protection. It’s the same with a pair that has larger lenses. Take note that polarized lenses don’t necessarily keep your eyes safe from UV rays. Also, the color of the lenses doesn’t have anything to do with their ability to provide UV protection.
How to Tell if Your Sunglasses Offer UV Protection
Eye doctors can determine if sunglasses can block UV rays with a photometer. If you have a UV flashlight, try testing your sunglasses at home. Direct your UV flashlight onto a current U.S. bill. The newer currency features UV-fluorescent fibers that shine under UV radiation. Your sunglasses aren’t protecting your eyes enough from UV radiation protection if the light causes the fibers to glow brighter after it passes through the lenses.
Whether you need a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses, Nova Vision Center is here to help. Call us at (703) 578-3600, or complete our contact form to make an appointment. We serve patients in Arlington and Alexandria, VA.