Sun protective lenses

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You already know to protect your skin from the sun, you should do the same for your eyes. UV light can be harmful to your vision and overall eye health, so sun protection lenses are a crucial part of maintaining healthy vision. Overexposure to UV light has been associated with eye diseases such as cataracts.(1)

It’s hugely important to wear the right sun protection lenses, especially when you experience intense sunlight. You can achieve this by wearing protective sunglasses and by making sure your corrective lenses have the right UV coating, for the times where you do not have your sunglasses to hand.

What are the best sunglasses to protect your eyes?

The best sunglasses to protect your eyes can depend on your lifestyle and individual needs. You can choose from polarised lenses or regular tinted sunglasses with UV protection.

Polarised lenses can help to provide enhanced colour perception and reduce glare for those who take part in sport or drive frequently. They can provide a high level of UV protection for those who live an on-the-go lifestyle or like to spend a lot of time out in the garden. Of course, you can also choose to wear regular tinted sunglasses but it’s important to make sure they also block UV rays and offer 100% UV protection.

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How can you protect your eyes from the sun?

One of the easiest ways to protect your eyes from the sun is to avoid going out when the sun is at its strongest. It can be helpful to check the UV forecast for your area. If this isn’t feasible, making sure you’re wearing sun protection lenses and a wide brimmed hat is the next best thing.

Man hiking up mountain wearing a beanie and sunglasses

Can clear lenses have UV protection?

Sunglasses, particularly polarised lenses, are the best solution for your vision and eye health when you’re out in the sun. It is also possible to invest in UV protection for clear lenses, for those times where you’re just popping out! You are able to combine UV protective absorption within your clear corrective lenses to ensure optimal protection. At Essilor, we call this Eye Protect System.

UV protection for clear lenses can support your visual health by absorbing UV light before it reaches your eyes. It does this while maintaining an aesthetically clear lens.

UV protection for clear lenses offer front and back protection to make sure that no harmful light reaches your eyes. Eye Protect System will absorb the UV light and partially filters Blue-Violet which has been recently identified as one of the factors recently that can cause damage to retinal cells.(2)

You can also opt for lenses with light intelligent technology. Transitions lenses provide UV protection and automatically adapt to changing light conditions for optimal visual comfort and style, perfect for those times when you’re going in and out.

Woman wearing Transitions Style Colours in a city

Which is more harmful for your eyes; UVA or UVB?

The term ‘UV light’ can sometimes refer to three different categories of UV radiation; UVC, UVB and UVA rays. Understanding the difference can help you to invest in the right sun protection lenses.

UVC rays are the most harmful type of UV to both your eyes and skin, but the atmosphere blocks them. UVB rays are the ones that can create a sun tan, or sunburn if you aren’t careful. UVB rays are associated with skin cancer, premature ageing of the skin and some eye problems such as photokeratitis.

UVA rays are the ones that can pass through your cornea and reach your lens and retina. It is overexposure to UVA rays that can cause certain eye diseases including cataracts.(1)

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(1) Cataract:, McCarty CA, Taylor HR. A review of the epidemiologic evidence linking ultraviolet radiation and cataracts. Dev Ophthalmol. 2002; 35:21-31(2) Sunlight and the 10-year incidence of age-related maculopathy: The Beaver Dam Eye Study. Arch. Ophthalmol., 122, 750-757.New discoveries and therapies in retinal phototoxicity, Serge Picaud et Emilie Arnault, Points de Vue N°68, Spring 2013.