Squinting won’t do! by UofL Health Louisville KY

Sunglasses can make us look cool, others fashionable. But if you spend any amount of time outside, you need sunglasses.

All sunglasses are not the same

Not all sunglasses are created equal. The lenses in sunglasses may be polarized, non-polarized or UV blockers.

Polarized lenses help reduce glare from reflected light (e.g. a fisherman may prefer polarized lenses to reduce glare from the water).

Non-polarized lenses only block intense light. A golfer may want to wear polarized lenses so as not to misread any visual cues around the green that might be otherwise filtered through a polarized lens.

UV blockers shield protect the eye and surrounding structures from ultraviolet light, which has been shown to cause cataracts and damage to the back of the eye. 

Do we need to wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses should be worn to protect the skin around the eye and prevent UV light from entering the eye. UV light is harmful and has been shown to cause cataracts and may cause early onset age related maculopathy.

I’m shopping for sunglasses, what should someone look for when buying sunglasses?

When shopping for sunglasses make sure to check and see if they have a UV filter in the lens, which should be clearly labeled on the lens or the frame of the sunglasses. Make sure to purchase sunglasses that suit your needs and choose a frame that provides adequate coverage for the skin around the eyes.

Sunglasses that do not have a UV light filter will cause the pupil to dilate and allow more harmful UV light into the eye. Make sure you purchase a pair which state that they have a UV blocking lenses.

How does prolonged exposure to sunlight impact our vision?

Prolonged exposure to UV light in sunlight can cause damage to the skin around the eyelids, which can lead to premature aging of the skin as well as increase the risk for skin cancer such as melanoma. The lens inside the eye may age prematurely and cause early onset of cataracts, which are opacities that form in the lens. The back of the eye is also at risk from overexposure to UV light. The macula, which we use to see color and fine detail, can be irreversibly damaged by UV light and can lead to age-related macular degeneration, a form of vision loss.

When is the last time you had an eye exam? Learn more about UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists and make an appointment today.

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Article by:

Patrick Scott, O.D.

Dr. Patrick Scott is an optometrist with UofL Physicians – Eye Specialists and is also an assistant professor at the UofL School of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Dr. Scott received his bachelor’s degree from Canisius College in New York and his doctor of optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry. He completed his residency and fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine. He is member of the American Academy of Optometry; American Optometric Association; Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology; International Society for Eye Research; American Association of Clinical Anatomists; Kentucky Optometric Association; Optometric Retina Society; and Sports Vision Society.

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