It's easy to remember to grab a pair of sunglasses when the sun is shining during the middle of the summer, but what about the rest of the year? Common misconceptions can lead to dangerous eyewear habits, so it's essential to educate yourself about the best types of prescription sunglasses and other resources and accessories you can use to keep your eyes happy and healthy for years to come.
• Understanding UV rays
• The UV Index
• The effects of UV rays on your eyes
• Common misconceptions about prescription sunglasses
• UV rays and your skin
• Popular designer sunglasses
Understanding UV Rays
When the forecast calls for a bright and sunny day, remembering to grab a pair of sunglasses is second nature for a majority of people. Unfortunately, the sun's UV rays, also known as ultraviolet rays, can still damage your eyes and skin during the colder months, as well as when it’s cloudy outside. But how exactly are ultraviolet rays measured, and why are they dangerous?
The sun emits radiation in various formats, including ultraviolet, infrared, and x-rays, with ultraviolet rays making up roughly 10 percent. Fortunately, only a few of these radiation types can penetrate the earth's ozone layer in the atmosphere. The warmth and light we receive from the sun have a profound impact on our bodies, both positive and negative. Although we receive essential nutrients like Vitamin D from the sun's rays, sunlight can also cause skin cancer, sunburn, premature aging, and more. Did you know that exposure to ultraviolet light causes nearly 90 percent of all skin injury symptoms?
Breaking Down UV Rays
UV radiation is divided into three categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Each category is determined by the radiation's wavelength, with UVC rays having the shortest and UVA with the longest. The damage that UV rays cause our eyes and skin is determined by the amount of radiation able to pass through the ozone layer. Traditionally, the longer the wavelengths, the easier the rays pass through to the earth's surface. However, the thickness of the ozone layer also plays a crucial part in protection against the sun. As greenhouse gas emissions erode the cover of the ozone layer's effectiveness, protection from the sun becomes even more critical.
Radiation with UVC rays rarely impacts our skin because the ozone layer absorbs the majority of the radiation. UVB and UVA radiation are the two forms that prescription sunglasses are designed to protect against because they are the most damaging to our eyes and skin. UVB radiation is the primary cause of sunburns because it penetrates the top layer of skin, known as the epidermis. In contrast, UVA radiation penetrates deeper into the skin, causing skin damage and aging.
The UV Index
Understanding when the sun does the most damage to your eyes and skin can help you choose the best prescription sunglasses for your needs. Thankfully, there is an easy to understand resource for estimating the sun's intensity on any given day.
In 1994, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service developed the UV Index. This index has a set scale and helps estimate the risk of UV exposure for every zip code in the country. According to the UV Index, one is the lowest risk of overexposure, while 11 is the highest. In addition, scientists have also grouped the UV Index into color-coded levels ranging from low to extreme danger.
The UV Index considers eight factors when determining how damaging the sun’s rays are in your area:
• Time of day: When the sun is at the highest point in the sky, the intensity is at its peak. This peak occurs each day between noon and 1 p.m. when the sun is at solar noon. Time of day impacts the sun's angle in relation to your body, helping scatter harmful UV rays and lessen the damage you are exposed to.
• Season: The UV Index is highest during the spring and summer. Exposure decreases in autumn and is at its lowest during the winter.
• Clouds: It is a common misconception that you don't need prescription sunglasses on a cloudy day. Thick and heavy clouds can block large amounts of UV radiation, while thin, wispy clouds allow most UV rays to pass right through. The most dangerous and deceptive clouds are the most beautiful to look at. Clouds with a fat and fluffy appearance that float through the sky in nice weather increase the amount of UV rays you're exposed to by reflecting the rays' direction. Grab a pair of designer sunglasses to take with you when you're out and about!
• Latitude: The way the sun circles around the earth impacts the amount of radiation. Exposure to UV rays is highest at the equator and lowest at the north and south poles.
• Altitude: If you've ever tried to climb a high mountain, you may have noticed it's harder to breathe at the top than the bottom. Air is thinner at higher altitudes, making it easier for the sun's rays to damage your eyes and skin.
• Ozone: Scientists are worried about the future strength of the ozone layer. The earth's ozone levels fluctuate daily, contributing to the UV Index level and causing increased harm to your unprotected eyes.
• Land cover: Objects like buildings and trees reduce the amount of UV radiation you're exposed to by physically blocking your eyes' rays.
• Land surface cover: If you're heading out on a boat, lounging on the beach, or hitting the slopes to ski, protective prescription eyeglasses are a must. UV radiation can be reflected or scattered by the material that covers the ground near you. According to the World Health Organization, water reflects 10% of UV rays, 15% of sand, and snow up to 80%.
Find My UV Index
Although we recommend wearing protective nonprescription or prescription sunglasses whenever you're outside or exposed to UV rays, the UV Index forecast for your area can help you determine how dangerous the sun's rays are for a particular location. If the UV Index is two or below, your exposure level is low and is identified by the color green. Experts categorize moderate exposure by a three to five on the scale, or the color yellow. Orange signifies a high exposure potential and is a six or seven on the index. An eight to 10 on the scale is a very high exposure risk and is identified as red, while an 11 or higher is extreme with the color violet. You can visit the EPA's UV Index website and search by zip code to determine your risk.
UV Rays and Your Eye Health
Slathering on the sunscreen when you head to the beach to protect your skin is common sense. It's easy to feel the damaging effects of the sun on your face and shoulders within a few minutes of unprotected exposure, but did you know the same damage can occur to your eyes as well? Unfortunately, many people underestimate the dangers the sun's UV rays can cause on your short- and long-term eye and vision health.
Our eyes can become sunburned just like our skin can, although it's much less noticeable to the people around us. When you expose your eyes to too much UV radiation, especially in a short time, you can develop a type of sunburn called photokeratitis, also known as sunburn of the eye. Photokeratitis can cause various painful and frustrating symptoms, including redness, extreme light sensitivity, feeling as though sand or another foreign object is in your eye, and excessive tear production. Like a painful sunburn, photokeratitis typically goes away and is unlikely to cause permanent damage the first time. However, the more UV radiation your eyes experience, the higher risk you chance for developing macular degeneration and cataracts as you age.
Common Misconceptions About Prescription Sunglasses
"You don't need sunglasses because it's cloudy outside." Even though we've already debunked this common misconception about traditional and prescription sunglasses, there are a handful of other myths you should understand when shopping for designer sunglasses.
• Myth one: "The darker the lenses of your prescription sunglasses, the more protection they provide." The tint level on your prescription sunglasses has nothing to do with the level of protection they provide. Darker lenses without substantial UV protection can be more dangerous than the same pair with lighter lenses because your pupils dilate more in a darker environment, exposing your eyes to more of the sun's damaging radiation. A pair of designer sunglasses with rose-colored lenses could provide just as much UV protection as the same pair with deep black lenses, so you can't judge by color or tint alone.
• Myth two: "Expensive designer sunglasses provide a better UV protection level than inexpensive prescription sunglasses." The cost of your sunglasses alone cannot determine the level of UV protection they will provide. It's essential to read the labels of any pair of prescription or designer sunglasses to ensure they provide the proper level of protection against the sun's UV rays. Never assume sunglasses offer UV protection because of the brand, style, color, or price.
• Myth three: "The description on the sunglasses that identifies the level of UV protection offered is always accurate and trustworthy." Unfortunately, you can't always believe what you see advertised on a pair of glasses, whether they're an inexpensive prescription pair or expensive designer sunglasses. If you want to ensure you're receiving the best protection possible, purchasing your sunglasses from a reputable and reliable company is essential. Unverified online websites may not have accurate information about the protection offered by the designer sunglasses they carry, and your eyes could pay the ultimate price. Always shop from a reputable and established eye care company to ensure you're keeping your peepers safe! If you have a pair of designer sunglasses you purchased online or a pair of prescription sunglasses from another doctor, a local optometrist can measure the level of UV protection with a specialized device to give you peace of mind.
• Myth four: "Kids don't need sunglasses!" If children need sunscreen to prevent them from developing dangerous skin damage and cancers, they also need protective sunglasses to prevent UV damage to their eyes. It's too easy to find stylish and affordable children's traditional and prescription sunglasses for your little ones to not be protected.
• Myth five: "My sunglasses provide 100% UV protection, so I'm safe." Aside from the myth about only needing sunglasses when the clouds are gone, this myth is one of the more dangerous. Although selecting traditional and prescription sunglasses that filter 100% of the UV rays is essential, the size and style of your sunglasses also make a significant impact on the safety of your eyes. If you're purchasing prescription sunglasses, speak with your eye doctor about the style that will be most protective for your face shape. For designer sunglasses, select a style that covers a large portion of your eyes and surrounding skin. Wraparound styles are the most protective because they cover more of your eyes from all sides.
• Myth six: "Polarized designer sunglasses are better than regular lenses." Many expensive brands of designer sunglasses are easily recognizable because of the polarized lenses they offer. These lenses help block glare, reduce eye strain, and increases color contrast. Polarized designer sunglasses are popular among athletes that spend a lot of time on the water or snow because they make it easier to see more clearly. However, whether they're part of designer sunglasses or not, polarized lenses aren't automatically protecting your eyes from UV rays. From a medical standpoint, the polarization is a bonus rather than a real benefit for protecting your eyes from the sun.
UV Rays and Your Skin
Prescription and designer sunglasses do more than protect your eyes from damage. The skin around your eyes is delicate and can be easily damaged by the sun's radiation. Increased sun damage also causes fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to selecting a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes, look for a pair that offers coverage for the skin around your eyes. Also, be sure to wear sunscreen every day, paying close attention to the area around your eyes.
Proper eye health and UV rays protection is another reason it's essential to keep up with yearly eye appointments. These appointments help your eye doctor ensure your eyes are in optimum health and prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of eye health conditions.
Popular Designer Sunglasses
The proper eyewear and eyecare are essential year-round, even when it's dark and cloudy outside. In addition to protecting your eyes, these designer sunglasses are also famous for their stylish designs and wide array of customization options, including the ability to turn them into prescription sunglasses.
• Ray-Ban RB4226: Ray-Ban is an incredibly popular brand of designer sunglasses, and these are some of our favorites. These men's designer sunglasses feature a free scratch-resistant coating, free UV protective treatment, and a case and cleaning cloth. You can customize them to be prescription sunglasses thanks to options for reading lenses, distance, and progressive lenses.
• Ray-Ban RB3543: If you like the look of classic aviators, these are a fantastic choice. Ray-Ban makes designer sunglasses in various styles that can also be customized to include polarization, anti-glare coatings, and ultra-thin lenses.
• Michael Kors MK2024-Adrianna II: When it comes to beautiful and protective designer sunglasses, you can't go wrong with this style by Michael Kors. Each frame and lens combo include a free UV treatment, scratch-resistant coating, case, and cleaning cloth. You can also upgrade to thinner lenses, polarized coatings, and more.
• Emporio Armani EA4025: If you're looking for a sleek and trendy style that also protects your eyes, these designer sunglasses from Emporio Armani are a fantastic choice. The larger lens design helps protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them while the free UV treatment ensures you're prioritizing your eye health.
• Ray-Ban RB3542: Fans of fishing and other outdoor activities have probably heard about Ray-Ban brand designer sunglasses. The brand utilizes advanced technology to provide a modern yet durable style with features that keep your eyes safe and healthy.
Finding sunglasses that fit your lifestyle and your health needs can seem like a challenge, especially if you're on a budget. WebEyeCare is here to make your eye care struggles disappear thanks to incredible pricing, a satisfaction guarantee, free lens upgrades and shipping, and easy and convenient ways to get your prescription sunglasses shipped right to your door. Our company features a variety of contacts, designer sunglasses, prescription lenses, and other eye accessories. WebEyeCare also includes a feature that allows customers to obtain glasses or contact lens prescriptions entirely online. A licensed eye care provider in your state utilizes the company's online vision test software to evaluate your eye care needs and provide a prescription within two business days. Whether you're shopping for prescription sunglasses or want to take home a pair of your favorite designer sunglasses, WebEyeCare is here to help. To learn more or shop our impressive selection of brands and styles, explore our website.