The Truth About Ultraviolet Rays

Here’s a shocker: prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Yep, you read it right. Recent studies have shown that without proper eye protection, ultraviolet rays may cause serious eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration that can cause you to lose your sight.

A father and daughter wearing glasses, looking at an ocean sunset

UV rays aren’t picky. They hurt everyone’s eyes, regardless of age or gender. Even a single outing outside can do damage if your eyes aren’t protected. These are the same rays that burn our skin and cause skin cancer, wrinkles. UV rays can burn the outer surface of our eyes, leading to complications later.

So when you're outside, don’t just think about protecting your skin.

Protect your eyes too!

UV: Just the Facts

  • UV levels are three times greater in summer than winter
  • Sunlight reflected off of water, snow and pavement intensifies UV and makes it more dangerous
  • 20% of cataract cases are due to UV rays
  • 3.2 million go blind every year due to prolonged UV exposure

Here’s What to Do:

  • Protect Your Eyes! Wear the right kind of sunglasses when going outside – even when it’s overcast. The sun’s rays can be just as damaging on a cloudy day. Many sunglasses styles do not protect the eyes from the solar radiation entering from the sides or around the sunglass frames. However, UV blocking contact lenses can provide an important measure of additional protection. The level of protection can vary. Contact lenses that help protect against transmission of harmful UV rays are classified into two categories: Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1 UV blockers provide the greatest measure of UV protection. Talk to your doctor about which UV blocking contact lenses may be right for you.
  • Talk to Your Eye Care Professional: All sunglasses don’t provide UV protection. The color of the lenses has nothing to do with it – it’s a function of the lens material or a treatment the lens has had. That’s why some clear lenses can protect you, while some colored lenses can’t!
  • Wear Sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays: If you’re not sure, have your Eye Care Professional measure the lenses for UV capability. It takes just a few seconds for complete peace of mind.
  • Don’t Forget the Kids! They need UV protection too! Have them wear proper sunglasses and hats, too. It’s also smart to keep them out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
  • Get Checked Annually! Early detection makes all the difference in recognizing, preventing and treating eye diseases. So don’t delay! Click here to find an Eye Doctor near you and get a comprehensive eye exam every year.

Health Tips

Fun in the sun can mean danger for your eyes! Sunlight contains harmful UV rays that can damage your sight and cause premature aging and wrinkles around your eyes. So when you're outside, always protect your eyes and vision with a quality pair of sunglasses that have polarized lenses to block out UV rays!


Schedule an eye exam today!