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There are an estimated 40,000 sports and recreation-related eye injuries each year
and the majority of them happen to children.

Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses: Why Protect Your Eyes?

We all know the importance of using sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but what about our eyes? Knowing the multiple, long-lasting benefits of wearing sunglasses to eye health can help you better take care of your eyesight.

Sunglasses Uses and Function

Sunglasses have two prime functions:

  • To protect from ultraviolet and visible light toxicity and,
  • to protect the eyes from impact injury.

Since sunglass wearers have the same potential exposure as everyone else to the impact of an airbag or an unexpected fall, all sunglasses should have polycarbonate lenses.

It’s important to protect your eyes when UV light is most intense.

  • Generally, UV light is most intense at midday (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), but you need to protect your eyes whenever you’re outside for a prolonged period, even when it’s gray and overcast.
  • Reflected sunlight (for example, off water and snow and glass windows) can be the most dangerous type of UV light, because it is intensified.
  • Your eyes can be harmed by UV light sources other than the sun, such as welding lamps or tanning booths, so always wear eye protection when using these or when you are exposed to other sources. And remember, tanning booths are just as dangerous for your skin as staying outside on a hot, sunny day is.
Sunglasses Care PDF UV Protection PDF

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Sunglasses Protection for Your Eyes

Remember: Similar to a skin burn, eye surface burns usually disappear within a couple of days, but may lead to further complications later in life so PROTECT YOUR EYES!

To protect your eyes​, wear a wide-brimmed hat and the right kind of sunglasses when you are going to be exposed to UV light.

  • Make sure sunglasses block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • If you spend time on the water or in the snow, consider purchasing goggles or sunglasses that wrap around your temples because they do not allow the sun’s rays to enter from the side, offering better protection.
  • Remember, sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to offer the right kind of UV protection. Even inexpensive glasses can protect your eyes if they offer 99 to 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection.
  • Don’t forget the kids. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses. In addition, try to keep children out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Active people should NEVER wear sunglasses with glass lenses. These can shatter, lacerating eyes, with impacts from e.g., volleyball, frisbee and airbags.

In addition to the damage caused by repeated sun exposure over time, you need to protect your eyes from acute damage caused by a single day in the sun.

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light reflected off sand, snow or pavement can burn the eye’s surface. The same UV-A and UV-B rays that can damage your skin can harm your eyes as well. When you protect yourself from the sun, don’t just think sunscreen – think sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

  • Excessive, prolonged UV exposure may be linked to the development of eye conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Extensive or intense exposure to UV rays can cause “sunburn” on the surface of your eye. Similar to a skin sunburn, eye surface burns usually disappear within a couple of days, but may lead to further complications later in life so protect your eyes.

Recent studies have shown that prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays without protection may cause eye conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The more exposure to bright light, the greater the chances of developing these serious eye problems.

Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat is the best defense system for your eyes. To be effective, both must be worn every time you’re outside for prolonged periods of time, even when it’s overcast or cloudy.

“What type of sunglasses should I get?”

Understanding the importance of wearing sunglasses is the first step to protecting your eyes from the sun. Knowing the right pair to purchase is equally necessary.

First, choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. Don’t be misled by the color of the lens or the price tag dangling from the frame. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens. UV protection comes from a chemical coating applied to the lens surface. With expensive sunglasses, you’re paying for style, frame quality and options such as scratch-resistant coatings, not protective ability.

Polycarbonate lenses are the lenses of choice and are the most shatter-resistant lens material currently available. It also filters 100% of UV, and even un-tinted polycarbonate gives adequate UV protection. To filter out bright light, especially in the “blue hazard” range, you should not get a blue lens that transmits the potentially harmful blue light wavelengths.

Neutral gray is a good choice because it does not change colour values. Lenses tending towards amber are effective at filtering out blue light. People who wish to avoid glare, in sports such as fishing, can have the lens custom-made with a polarizing filter.

If sunglasses are desired for use in sports, look for a good plano product with excellent wind protection. For people that wear prescription eyewear, polycarbonate lenses can be placed in frames that pass standards appropriate for the intended use. Over-the-glasses polycarbonate sun shields are also available.

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Since 2002, highly qualified Ophthalmologists, O.D’s, and Optometrists of Gulf Eye Doctors in Dubai (formerly known as Gulf Eye Center,) have been successfully treating a wide range of eye conditions using advanced techniques.

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