Don’t let a cloudy day fool you. We’re all exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun every single day whether it’s sunny or gloomy out.
Ever wonder what the impact of UV radiation is and why it’s so vital to protect your eyes? Well, here’s the answer…
① What are UV Rays
There are 3 types of ultraviolet radiations – UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-C is seldom heard of as it is absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer, making its threat minimal to nonexistent for us. UVA is the most abundant source of solar radiation and penetrates beyond the top layer of our skin, while UVB penetrates less deeply into our skin. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause short and long term damages to your eyes and vision respectively.
The fact is, with the right protective shades, 99-100% of the harmful UV rays can be blocked from reaching your eyes and causing irreparable damage. While wearing a hat may be helpful, it only cuts the amount of UV rays that reach your eyes in half. The use of both would be optimal, because better safe than sorry, right?
② Impact & Damages of UV Rays
Without UV-protected sunglasses, your eyes may suffer from various impeding symptoms and unpredicted future consequences.
Just like sunburns to your skin when unprotected, short term exposure to UV radiation without protection can cause destruction to your eyes the same way a sunburn does to your skin. This is known as photokeratitis, the “eye sunburn.” Some short term symptoms are as follows: red and puffy eyes, feeling gritty as if there’s sand in your eyes, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright lights, and excessive tearing.
Though these symptoms are generally temporary, if you are exposing your eyes to long-term solar radiation, you are putting yourself in high risk of developing eye diseases later in life, such as the growth of cataracts, impairment to your cornea and retina, cancer to your eyelids and your eyes. You can even These are permanent damages similar to that of long-term exposure to UV rays on the skin causing melanoma, a skin cancer.
③ Debunking common myths
Common myths about UV lens gradings and the color and tint of those lenses have always been a confusion for consumers. For lens gradings, it is rumored that the higher the level, the greater the protection. As for coloring and tints of those lenses, people assume that the darker they are, the more protective. Well, here at Peppertint our mission is to debunk those myths for you. As of recently, there have been brands advertising their eyewear with a grading of UV600 lenses, pitch black tints, etc., but let us just make things clear for you, these are simply marketing strategies.
UV400 graded lens provides 100% UV protection. That means a grading of UV400 is already the maximum amount of protection for your eyes, as it shields them from both UV-A and UV-B radiation. UV-C is rarely an issue, because our earth’s ozone layer absorbs it all, making it a minimal to nonexistent threat to us, a luxury we often overlook. Guess what? UV400, 100% UV protected lenses also absorb most of the blue light (HEV rays) that are less commonly mentioned, but is just as important to prevent exposure from.
Tinted or non-tinted lenses has absolutely nothing to do with the UV protection of your eyewear. A clear lens with 0 tint and 100% UV protection is far better for your eyes in comparison to dark, heavily tinted lenses without any UV protection features. The thing is, consistently resorting to darker tinted lenses without adequate UV protection provided in them is actually much worse for your eyes than opting out of wearing sunglasses at all. Why? Because the dark tint actually causes your pupils to become dilated, which then exposes your eyes becoming vulnerable to the UV light.
④ So...what should we do?
The fact is, UV ray damage is cumulative through your lifetime, and around ¼ of UV damage to your eyes occur before the age of 20, therefore it is highly recommended that you begin early on in your life to protect your eyes, as these damages are irreversible.
So, keep in mind that before your next outdoor activity, remember to bring all your basic necessities: keys, phone, and wallet, but most importantly, a sturdy pair of 100% UVA/UVB guaranteed eyewear for protection. Now, go out and enjoy your life!