Protecting Your Eyes from Solar Radiation

  • The sun supports all life on our planet, but its life-giving rays also pose dangers. The sun’s primary danger is in the form of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is a component of solar radiation, but it can also be given off by artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds and lasers.
  • Most are aware of the harm UV radiation can do to the skin, but many may not realize that exposure to UV radiation or other components of solar radiation can harm the eyes and also affect vision.
  • Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula, pterygia and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.

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Ultraviolet (UV) rays are higher in energy and do not fall within the realm of visible light, as shown here. In the electromagnetic spectrum, radio waves have the lowest energy, and gamma rays have the highest energy.

Precautions

  • To provide adequate protection for your eyes, sunglasses should:
  • block out 99 to 100 percent of UV radiation
  • screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light
  • be perfectly matched in colour and free of distortion and imperfection; and
  • have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition.
  • Kids need UV Protection even more than adults as children tend to spend significantly more time outdoors than most adults, up to half of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation can occur by age 18. Therefore, make sure your kids’ eyes are protected from the sun with good quality sunglasses. Also, encourage your child to wear a hat on sunny days to further reduce UV exposure.
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