UV light – also called UV radiation or ultraviolet light – is light that exists on the ultraviolet spectrum. Many animals and insects can see into this part of the light spectrum; for us, UV is outside our ability to perceive visually. The only way we can see UV light is using specialized equipment.
The thing is: UV can have significant impacts on our eye health. It is linked to a range of diseases and conditions, ranging from cataracts, to age-related macular degeneration, to many forms of eye cancer. Protecting our eyes from UV should always be a priority when we are outdoors.
What is UV Light, Anyway?
The biggest source of UV you are likely to encounter on a regular basis is the sun, though man-made sources of UV (such as tanning beds) exist as well. The sun is the biggest source of UV radiation globally, constantly broadcasting UV rays. It’s part and parcel with how the sun provides energy to the Earth. It’s also why you tan./span>
There Are Three Different Types of UV Rays
These rays are the closest to our visible spectrum. Despite having less energy than the other forms of UV light, UVA rays can easily pass through the eye’s lens to reach the retina.
UVA rays have been linked to cataracts as well as macular degeneration.
These rays are higher energy than UVA rays. Most of these rays are filtered out by our atmosphere, but the ones that aren’t are what’s responsible for your tan. UVB rays are linked to various forms of cancer (including eye cancers).
These high-energy rays wreak havoc on our eyes and skin. Or, at least, they would if they reached us. Luckily, our atmosphere filters out UVC rays before they reach the surface.
Okay, So I’m Sufficiently Concerned About UV. How Do I Protect My Eyes?
Fret not! Protecting your eyes from UV rays is actually quite simple. All you need to do to protect your eyes is:
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses/eyeglasses whenever you are outdoors
- Wear appropriate eye protection when visiting a tanning booth
- Consider wearing a hat when outside
Where Do I Find Glasses That Block UV Light?
All quality pairs of sunglasses and eyeglass lenses will block UV light. You can find a great selection of UV blocking lenses and UV blocking sunglasses in our eyewear boutique. One of our eyewear consultants would be happy to help you find the right pair- visit us in NW Calgary today!