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Tips on Sunglass Protection
The UV Index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) has made many Americans more aware of the risks of sunburn and skin cancer from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
But did you know UV and other radiation from the sun can also harm your eyes? Extended exposure to the sun's UV rays has been linked to eye damage and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss. And new research suggests the sun's high-energy visible (HEV) radiation, also called blue light, may increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration. People with low blood plasma levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants especially appear at risk of retinal damage from HEV radiation.
To protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, sunglasses should block 100 percent of UV rays and also absorb most HEV rays. Frames with a close-fitting wraparound style provide the most protection because they limit how much stray sunlight reaches your eyes. â€¨ Almost all sunglasses block a portion of HEV rays, but some tints block more blue light than others. Blue-blocking sunglass lenses usually are bronze, copper or reddish-brown in color.
Remember to wear sunglasses even when you're in the shade. Although shade reduces your UV and HEV exposure to some degree, your eyes still will be exposed to UV rays reflected from buildings, roadways and other surfaces. Even if your contact lenses block UV rays, you still need sunglasses. UV-blocking contacts shield only the part of your eye under the lens. UV rays still can damage your conjunctiva and other tissues not covered by the lens. Wearing sunglasses protects these delicate tissues and the skin around your eyes from UV damage.You need not fear the outdoors and sunny days, as long as you are equipped with the right eye and skin protection to reduce your UV exposure.