Do UV Sunglasses Make a Difference?

Your St. Petersburg Eye Doctor Serving Pinellas County

Sunglasses Aren’t Just Fashion Accessories!

Sometimes we forget that sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory, rather they actually serve a far more important purpose – to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. So is it okay to spring for a cheap pair of shades to match your outfit, or does wearing sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection actually make a difference? The answer is yes across the board.

You see, UV radiation is what gives you a sunburn on your skin when you don’t wear sunscreen. Sunglasses with UV protection are basically like sunscreen for your eyes.

On the other hand, when you wear sunglasses that don’t have UV protection, you can actually do more harm than good. This is because darkened lenses increase the eye’s pupil size, allowing more harmful UV rays through the inside of the eye. UV radiation can cause cataracts and is thought to progress some retinal diseases and degenerations more quickly.

So yes, UV protection in sunglasses does offer critical protection for your eyes, which is why all sunglasses sold legally in the United States are required to have UV protection built in to the lenses. That means that you can feel free to grab a pair of shades off the sale rack at the gas station, and they will have basic UV protection.

Why You Should Choose Better UV Blocking Lenses

There are however, varying degrees of UV blocking ability, so you if you really want to protect your peepers from the sun, you might want to spring for something more substantial. Although by simply looking at the lenses you won’t be able to see if they block UV or not, there are special instruments that can measure their UV blocking ability.

At Ryczek Eye Associates, we feel strongly enough about the hazards of excessive UV radiation in our Florida climate that virtually ALL glasses we dispense (from clear lenses to the darkest sunglasses) come with UV protection included. The rare exception is if a patient requests otherwise.

To find out more about protecting your eyes from our Florida sunshine or to schedule an eye exam with our experienced St. Petersburg eye doctor, call 727-327-8855 today.

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