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We are concerned about your eyes. Wearing sunglasses is an important step in maintaining the health of your eyes.
Sunglasses can help your eyes in two important ways. Sunglasses help filter light so that you may see more clearly. Also, they protect against the damaging rays of the sun. Quality sunglasses reduce glare and filter out 99-100% of ultraviolet (UV) rays. Sunglasses should be comfortable and protect your eyes without distortion.
Choose a lens color based on your preference and comfort level. Grey does not affect color perception; brown lenses are a good choice for those with Macular Degeneration, since they filter out UV and blue light rays for maximum retinal protection.
Look for sunglasses that filter out at least some blue light, which can damage the retina and lead to Macular Degeneration (vision loss from degeneration in parts of the eye). Also ask about polarization, a type of filtering that helps reduce glare. Additional things to consider are:
Most contact lenses available today do not protect your eyes from UV light. If you do not have contact lenses that absorb UV light, you need to protect your eyes with sunglasses.
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD): AMD is a major cause of vision loss in the U.S. for people age 55 and older. Exposure to UV and intense violet/blue visible radiation contributes to degenerative processes in the retina. Over 13 million Americans are affected by this disease.
Skin Cancer: Excessive UV exposure is well known to cause cancer of the skin. Eyelid skin is one of the most common areas of the body to develop skin cancer.
Cataracts: In conjunction with advancing age, excessive exposure to sunlight can cause cataracts.
Photokeratitis: Photokeratitis is essentially a reversible sunburn of the cornea resulting from excessive UV-B exposure. It occurs when someone spends hours on the beach or snow without eye protection. It can be extremely painful for 1-2 days and can result in temporary loss of vision. There is some indication that long-term exposure to UV-B can result in corneal and conjunctival degenerative changes.
Pterygium: Pterygium is a grown of tissue on the white of the eye that may extend onto the clear cornea where it can block vision. It is seen most commonly in people who work outdoors in the sun and wind and its prevalence is related to the amount of UV exposure. It can be removed surgically, but often reoccurs. If it is left untreated, it can cause visual loss.
Everyone is at risk. No one is immune to sunlight-related eye disorders. Every person in every ethnic group is susceptivle to ocular damage from UV radiation that can lead to impaired vision. However, fair-skinned, light-haired people are at greatest risk.
Children are not immune to the risk of ocular damage from UV radiation. More UV is transmitted to the retina of a child than to the retina of an adult.
Children typically spend more time outdoors in the sunlight than adults. Solar radiation damage to the eye may be cumulative and may increase the risk of developing an ocular disorder later in life. It is prudent to protect the eyes of children against UV radiation by having them wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap and sunglasses.
Sunglasses for children, as with all glasses, should have lenses made of polycarbonate because of their superior impact resistence.