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Are Our Eyes Safe Behind Cut-Rate Sunglasses?

When it comes to sunglasses, what you can’t see can hurt you!

You may think your shades are doing their job by just taking away the sun’s glare. But sunglasses have another important purpose—blocking invisible ultraviolet light. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can cause short-term discomfort. More importantly, over time, it can lead to cataracts and other vision problems.

It’s not immediately obvious if sunglasses are blocking damaging UV light. In fact, wearing dark glasses that don’t block UV rays can actually be more harmful to your eyes than wearing no protection at all!

Discount Sunglasses Could Endanger Vision

Our eyes have amazing mechanisms that allow them to adjust to different levels of light. In dim conditions, the pupil (the opening that lets light into the eye) increases in size to allow more light to reach the retina. In bright light, it contracts to avoid overexposure.

Wearing sunglasses makes your eyes’ sensors believe they’re in low light, and the pupils expand in size up to 6 millimeters. If your sunglasses aren’t blocking UV rays, this expansion allows much more harmful light in than if you weren’t wearing sunglasses at all!

Know What To Look For When Selecting Shades

The next time you’re out shopping for sunglasses, keep these few simple things in mind. Quality sunglasses will have them listed on a sticker or tag:

  • blocks 99–100% of UVA and UVB rays
  • meets ANSI Z80.3 quality standards
  • provides UV 400 protection (another way of saying they block 100% of UVA/UVB)

If the tag doesn’t offer specific numbers about protection, don’t buy the glasses. Some less expensive sunglasses meet these standards and some costly ones don’t! So, don’t judge strictly on price! The best way to make sure that you’re getting true quality UV protection is to come and see us! We have great options that are fashionable AND provide proper protection for your eyes.

Protecting Our Eyes For Lifelong Vision

Our eyes are too precious to risk on low-grade protection and care! That’s why we take extra steps to ensure that the advice and treatment we provide is of the highest quality, and tailored to each of our patient’s specific needs.

Contact a Vision Source® practice near you for your next appointment. We care about your long-term eye health and we’re honored when you trust us to take care of your vision.

(Top image by Flickr user Bob n Renee used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.)

Author Vision Source — Published July 6, 2015