Your eyes are amazing things: with them, you can experience some of the most wonderful parts of our world. The visual experience that we enjoy is unique to us, and because of that it’s something that we strongly advocate our patients to preserve and protect.
On a sunny day there’s much to see. Ontario’s blessed with a diverse palette of colours across a range of scenery; from lush green countryside to picturesque backdrops provided by the great lakes. As you can tell, we’re big fans.
On a bright summer’s day it can be tempting to spend it outdoors. We hope that you do, but be mindful to protect your eyes. As beautiful as the sun is, it can also harm our eyes thanks to UV rays.
What Are UV Rays and How Are They Harmful?
UV rays – also referred to as UV light or UV radiation – are rays of light in the ultraviolet spectrum. They exist just outside our ability to see with our eyes, though many types of equipment – not to mention animals and insects – can see into this spectrum.
The largest source of UV light – by far – is the sun. Other sources are man-made, such as tanning beds.
The Three Types of UV Rays
There are three types of UV rays:
- UVA – These rays are the closest to visible light (though they are not visible). These have been linked to the development of cataracts and the development of age-related macular degeneration.
- UVB – These rays have been linked to cataracts, AMD, and certain types of eye cancer.
- UVC – UVC rays are filtered out by our atmosphere and do not reach the surface of the Earth.
UV light also has implications outside of their impacts on our eyes (such as association with skin cancer and other conditions).
Protecting Your Eyes from UV Rays
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to protect your eyes from UV: simply wear UV blocking glasses or sunglasses. UV blocking lenses block out somewhere between 99% and 100% of UV rays, protecting your eyes from their harmful effects.
Note: UV rays easily pass through clouds, meaning that overcast days offer no protection from UV (this is why you still sunburn on a cloudy day). We strongly recommend wearing your glasses whenever you are outdoors.
Do Your Glasses Block UV Radiation?
Bring your glasses or sunglasses with you to your eye exam (or just pop on by) and we will be happy to test them for you!