Today, let’s talk about sun lens technology. After all sunglasses are for fashion right? Wrong. The $12 sunshades at gas stations or big box stores often do not have ultraviolet (UV) protection that is built into the lenses. Our eyes need protection from the harmful ultraviolet rays outdoors. Many age related eye diseases are now being seen in patients as young as 18 because of prolonged, excessive UV exposure.
Knowing the technology of sun lenses, or at least understanding what questions to ask your Eye Doctor, Certified Para-Optometric, or Optician is very important.
Over exposure to the sun’s UV rays is directly linked to...
Cataracts (a film that grows inside the eye’s focusing lens. It makes your vision like you are looking constantly through a dirty window)
Pinguecula (a tissue that grows on the outside of the eye’s conjunctiva, which can cause astigmatism, blurred vision, irritation when you blink, dry eyes, and an unsightly yellow growth on the white part of your eye.
Photokeratitis (inflammation of the cornea, that makes it feel like you are blinking over sandpaper, causing pain, watery eyes, and blurred vision)
Macular Degeneration ((used to be called AGE-related Macular Degeneration) occurs in the retina causing permanent loss of central vision)
Eyelid Skin cancers (any new lump or bump or color change on your eyelids should be checked immediately by your eye doctor
As if UV wasn't enough?!
The sun emits High-energy visible light (HEV) radiation. We have been studying this extensively , it is also known as BLUE LIGHT RADIATION. In fact, some studies show that over 75% of a LIFETIME of light radiation is absorbed in our retina before the age of 18. This is not due entirely to the holes in the Ozone layer, but from smart phones, computers, tablets and televisions.
Get covered Chicago!
In order to protect your eyes while outdoors, and look great too, be sure your next pair of sunglasses or prescription sunglasses is/has:
POLARIZED: The very best optics in the sun come from polarized sungshades. These lenses eliminate the sun’s glare. Like the blinds on your window, polarized lenses only allow specific amounts of light into your eyes at certain angles to eliminate scattered light at the same time reducing brightness of the sun.
NO GLARE / ANTI-GLARE: These treatments are found on the back surface of prescription and non-prescription sunshades. No glare stops light from actually reflecting off the lens surface allowing you to see with less eye strain.
GRADIENT TINT / GRADUAL TINT GLASSES: These lenses are darker on top and gradually fade to very little tint toward the bottom. This gives a great balance of light coming into the eye depending on what part of the lens you are looking at.
COLORED TINTS: There are many shades of color to choose from for your sunglasses; here’s a brief description of what certain tints are for and how they optimize your vision.
GRAY / BLACK TINTS: Very good for outdoor sports, particularly golf and running.
AMBER / ORANGE / YELLOW / PINK: These tints optimize contrasts, that help you see sharper and more defined. Skeet shooting, rifle practice, and target shooting are enhanced with this type of lens.
GREEN: Optimize vision even in cloudy situations while out doors.
PHOTOCHROMATIC: (Most popular being Transitions) These lenses are clear indoors and change to either brown or grey outdoors. These lenses are far more advanced than even 2 years ago as they now darken quickly and turn clear indoors very quickly. Great choice for children and active adults who are bothered by switching between two pairs of glasses. They will not darken in the car however, and for that reason we recommend having a prescription pair of sunwear while driving. (note: photochromatic glass lenses do in fact darken in the car, however they are very heavy lenses, and may not be available as glass is being phased out of most optical labs)
MIRRORED LENSES: available as full or gradient, always look cool-and they provide a great functional benefit as about 10-15% more of visible light is blocked out (reflected by the mirror coating). These are excellent for the super light sensitive patients or for being in very bright conditions. The reflections off the ice and snow, for example, is where mirrored lenses may even provide better sun protection.
DRIVEWEAR: Theses lenses are my personal favorite as they can provide the best of all lenses combined. Drivewear lenses are polarized, amber in color and with a back surface no glare treatment. Patients sometimes wear them at night to drive if they are bothered by excessive glare and halo effect.
If you are not certain about the UV or Blue light radiation protection your sunglasses / glasses provide, bring them in with you for your next eye health and vision examination. We have a UV-O-Meter that will tell us instantly the percentage of harmful UV rays that are passing through your lenses.