So much more than a statement.

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How is UV Radiation

Important for Eye Health?

UV radiation reaches us in two forms, UV-A, and UV-B. UV-B represents the short wavelength radiation that causes sunburn and skin cancer. UV-B has a higher energy than UV-A but most of it is absorbed by the front layers of the eye. UV-A radiation has a lower energy but is able to penetrate much deeper into the eye. Scientific evidence shows that exposure to both UV-A and UV-B can have damaging long and short-term effects on your eyes and vision.

Over exposure to UV light (radiation) raises your risk of some eye diseases and other ocular issues. Man of these conditions can be avoided by wearing sunglasses:

  • Cataracts and eye cancers can take decades to develop. Each time you have exposure to the sun without eye protection, you increase your risk of serious disease. People of all ages, including babies and children should wear hats and sunglasses for this very reason.
  • Growths on the eye, such as pinguecula or pterygium, can show up as early as 15 years. Surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers and others who spend long hours under the midday sun or near rivers, oceans and mountains are at the highest risk.
  • Snow blindness, (also known as photokeratitis), can quickly develop after exposure to UV reflections off of snow, ice, sand or water.


Almost half, 47%, of sunglass wearers don’t check the UV label before buying sunglasses.

Select sunglasses that provide 100% UV or UV400 protection, or block both UV-A and UV-B rays. 

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Eye Disease.

Studies have found that aside from the skin, the eye is the area of the body most susceptible to damage caused by UV light. There is a range of different eye conditions that can occur as a result of persistent exposure and these happen because of cellular changes triggered by the presence of ultraviolet radiation. These include:

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Cataracts are typically associated with older people, but studies show that people who don’t properly protect their eyes are at risk of developing them earlier in life. They occur when proteins usually found evenly dispersed in the lens of the eye group together forming cloudy patches in your vision. There’s no permanent cure for cataracts, other than surgery to remove the lens and replace it with an impact.

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A condition characterized by a growth that appears on the white part of the eye and can extend onto the cornea, obscuring your vision. These growths aren’t normally painful but can cause scarring of the cornea which could lead to permanent loss of vision. Surgery is necessary to remove pterygium growths.



Another condition where patients experience a growth, this time which looks like a white or yellowish lump or bump that appears on the white of the eye. They can be irritating and uncomfortable and won’t go away without treatment.

macular degeneration


Also associated with the older generation, macular degeneration is characterized by the breakdown of the cells of the part of the retina called the macula, which enables us to see details and colors. Again, patients who have been subjected to excessive UV exposure are at greater risk of developing macular degeneration earlier. Any vision lost cannot be restored, although many patients learn to live with low vision using aids such as magnifying glasses.



Also known as photokeratitis, patients who experience this condition can expect symptoms including pain, swelling and inflammation of the cornea, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. Corneal sunburn is more common when patients have been affected by reflected UV rays, such as off snow or water, which can be much more intense.

eyelid cancer


Excessive exposure to UV rays also can cause cancers on the eyelids and other sensitive skin around the eyes. Excessive skin cancers account for 5% to 10% of all skin cancers. Exposure to UV carries profound health risks, including atrophy, pigmentary changes, wrinkling and malignancy. 

The Stats.


Percent of parents make their children wear sunscreen, only 32% make their children wear UV-protected sunglasses.


Percent of people wrongly believe that sunglasses with darker lenses provide more sun protection.


Percent of Americans have light-colored eyes (blue, green or hazel), and 68% of them are not aware that their eye color puts them at higher risk for UV damage.


Percent of people know that sunglasses should be worn even if it’s cloudy, but only 17% actually do.

Beat the Myths.


Look for sunglasses that block 99 percent or 100 percent of all UV light. Some manufacturer's labels say "UV absorption up to 400nm." This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption.

Impact Resistance

All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely than glass lenses to shatter when hit by a ball or stone.

Polarized Lenses

Polarization has nothing to do with UV light absorption, but many polarized lenses are now combined with a UV-blocking substance. Check the label to make sure the lenses provide maximum UV400 protection.

Lens Tint

The color and the degree of darkness (tinting) do not tell you anything about the lenses' ability to block UV light.

Mirror Coated

Mirror finishes are thin layers of various metallic coatings on an ordinary lens. Although they do reduce the amount of visible light entering your eyes, do not assume they will fully protect you against UV radiation.

To provide protection for your eyes, you need to find sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B in addition to screening out 75-90% of visible light.

All UV Protection is Not the Same.

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UV rays can lead to serious health issues including sunburn of the eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration and cancer. For optimal protection, your sunglasses should block 100% of all harmful UV rays, protecting your eyes from damage and long-term health risks. Sunglasses that do not provide UV protection can actually cause more damage because they shade the eye, allowing for more UV rays to hit the pupil.

How to Protect Yourself.

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It is important to be aware that UV damage is cumulative, meaning that it increases with age. For this reason, experts recommend that you start to protect your eyes from UV as early as possible. If you have children, they can benefit from adequate sun protection too. Some of the best ways to protect your eyes include:


  • Wearing sunglasses that have been tested and are shown to block out 100% UV light.
  • Choosing styles of sunglasses that offer the greatest light-blocking ability, such as wraparound designs and oversized lenses. You can even consider polarized or anti-glare lenses to make your eyes feel more comfortable in the bright sun.
  • Wearing a hat with a wide brim or a baseball cap, which will prevent UV from coming in over the top of your sunglasses.
  • Staying out of the sun in the middle part of the day when it is at its highest.
  • Wearing SPF on the skin around your eyes.

A Note About Blue Light

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High-Energy Visible Radiation (HEV), also known as blue light, has lower energy rays than UV. Whether blue light is harmful to the eye is still controversial. Lenses that block all blue light are usually amber colored and make your surroundings look yellow or orange. The tint supposedly makes distant objects appear more distinct, especially in snow or haze.

True Sun Protection for Every Set of Eyes.

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Phone: 206.242.8545

Fax: 206.244.2020

[email protected]

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