Many of us think of sunglasses as a fashion accessory. It’s hard to imagine Jackie O. or Jack Nicholson without their signature shades. But, all sunglasses are not created equal, and when choosing your next pair it’s important to remember that their primary function is to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Here’s the scoop on UV radiation and protection.
7 Things to Know About UV Protection
1. UV, or ultraviolet radiation, is part of the invisible light spectrum that falls between 100 and 400 nanometers (nm). UV is divided into three ranges: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C, the range below 280 nanometers, which is not considered a threat because most of it is filtered by the earth’s protective ozone layer (although air pollutants are degrading the ozone, thus increasing UV exposure). Prolonged exposure to the higher-ranged UV-A and B rays, however, can cause significant eye damage, ranging from temporary discomfort to long-term vision problems such as cataracts. All D•CURVE Optics sunglasses offer 100% protection against UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays.
2. UV radiation is most intense between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and is stronger at high altitudes and closer to the equator.
3. The reflective qualities of snow, sand and water amplify the effects of UV radiation, harming unprotected eyes in less time. Thus, it’s especially important to wear sunglasses while skiing, boating, or while hanging out on the beach or in the desert.
4. While clouds block solar brightness, they can still allow up to 80 percent of UV light to reach your eyes and skin. So, don’t forget your shades on those cloudy days. Protecting your eyes with D•CURVE Optics sunglasses will keep you smiling on a cloudy day.
5. Dark lenses that don’t block UV light can actually cause more damage than wearing none at all because they dilate your pupil, allowing more light in, without blocking the damaging rays.
6. In addition to UV-blocking shades, wear a brimmed hat. Fifty percent of sunlight comes from directly overhead and can reach your eyes over the top of your sunglasses.
7. Babies and young children have more translucent corneas and lenses, and thus are particularly susceptible to UV damage. Protect them with hats and sunglasses.
How much UV protection is enough?
Sunglasses and/or sunglasses packaging should carry an American National Standards Institute label telling how much UV light they block. For optimum protection, look for lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of ultraviolet rays. (Some labels say “UV absorption up to 400 nanometers”, which means the same thing.) If the sticker on the sunglasses doesn’t make either claim, or is worded vaguely (“Reduces UV exposure”), keep looking.
All D•CURVE Optics sunglasses offer 100% protection against UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays.