How to Protect Your Eyes from UV

Photo by Brad Hagan / CC BY

Spring in Chicago brings some needed sun. The sun crosses into a higher path, and gives us some warm and energizing rays. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of radiation emitted by the sun that is more energetic than visible light. Being more energetic, these rays provide vital energy to plants and animals, but that same energy can be damaging. As the suns rays become stronger, everyone should take steps to protect their eyes from UV.

How can UV harm your eyes?

We often don’t think twice about the dangers of UV rays when it comes to applying sunscreen to our skin. It’s common knowledge that sunscreen is a vital part of maintaining good health and preventing skin cancer. We often forget about our eyes being exposed to these same damaging rays. Excess exposure can accelerate cataracts (the fogging of the lens inside the eye causing visual decline) and macular degeneration (central vision blindness). UV can even cause growths on the surface of the eye that can cause irritation and distort vision. To be more specific, UV-A rays can damage the interior structures of the eye and UV-B the surfaces of the eye.

How can you protect your eyes from UV?

Everyone has a few good options. Well built lenses can help block harmful UV rays. Regular clear prescription lenses can block most UV rays, and we now have some contact lenses that are designed to block UV. Of course neither will reduce any uncomfortable brightness or glare of being in the sun. That’s where good sunglasses are really helpful. They can reduce glare plus block both UV-A and UV-B rays. Coupled with an anti-reflective coating, good quality sunglasses are a solid option. If you shift between inside and outside often, photochromic lenses that darken when exposed to UV are a good choice. My team and I can help you evaluate the options which would work best for you and your lifestyle.

Also if you would like to see sunglasses and lens options, please stop into the shop. We have a wall of designs that will fit anyone’s style. You can also get info on the collections we carry here: