Sunglasses and UV Protection

Nov 2, 2022

2 min read

Sunglasses and UV Protection

How sunglasses protect your eyes and the skin from UV damage

When it comes to the sun’s rays, we all know the benefits of protecting our skin from UV damage, but what about your eyes? As eye care professionals serving University Place, Tacoma, and Lakewood we are committed to helping you keep your eyes as healthy as possible. But can sunglasses help? The short answer is yes! But you need to make sure you have the right protection. Let’s learn more.

How Does Sun Damage Eyes?

Most people don’t know that the sun can cause significant damage to your eyes.

Long-term exposure to UV rays can cause sunburn, cataracts, or macular degeneration.


Just like your skin, your eyes can get sunburnt. The medical term is photokeratitis. If your eyes are sunburnt, they will likely feel watery, itch, dry, gritty, or sensitive to light. It’s usually not serious, but your eyes might enjoy some rest.


Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. The lens helps you focus on light or images on the retina, which helps us see objects clearly. When the lens becomes cloudy (a cataract), the image will appear blurry.

Cataracts are often a common part of aging, but the World Health Organization reports that up to 20 percent of cataracts may be caused by overexposure to UV radiation from sunlight.

Macular Degeneration

As its name would suggest, Macular degeneration is a deterioration of the macula, which is the central part of the retina. The macula’s job is to process sharp, clear vision.


Exposing your eyes to UV rays comes with a risk of cancer. Cancer has been found on the conjunctiva or the clear membrane that covers the front of the eye and underside of the eyelid. Melanoma has been found on the layer of the eye that contains the iris (uveal tract) and the white part of the eye (sclera). Skin cancer can also affect the eyelid.

How Can you Protect Yourself?

These diagnoses can seem grim, and the best protection is prevention. First, in addition to sunglasses, wear a wide-brimmed hat. This will prevent the sunlight that is above you from damaging your eyes. Bonus – it protects your skin, too!

When it comes to sunglasses, here’s how you can pick the perfect pair:

  1. Glasses that are 100% UV protection. Sunglasses with 100% protection will label themselves as such and are readily available.
  2. Glasses with larger frames. These offer protection around more of your eyes and are a great option.

Sunglasses can keep you comfortable and protected! If you’re in the market for a pair, swing by our retail store to find a pair that will look perfect on you.

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