“A lot of people, especially children and teenagers, don’t wear sunglasses,” says Dr. Jefferson Langford, an Optometrist at Intermountain Riverton Hospital.
Harmful exposure to the sun, even for just a few minutes a day, adds up over time. Unfortunately, a large amount of the UV damage to our eyes happens before we’re 18.
“There’s a lot of diseases and problems in the eye that are caused by long-term exposure to the UV radiation from the sun,” says Dr. Langford.
One way to protect your eyes is by adding shade to your outdoor activities. Dr. Langford recommends a baseball cap or a hat to start.
In addition, you want to find a quality pair of sunglasses. These can be over the counter or prescription and should filter 99-100% of the dangerous UV light. They should also filter between 75-90% of visible light.
“Some things you need to look for: they should mention they’re up to ANSI standards and that they filter the UV. You want to look at the sunglasses and make sure there’s no defects in the lens,” says Dr. Langford.
If you already have a pair, go ahead and examine the lenses of your current sunglasses. If you notice any kind of cracks, warps, scratches, or fading parts then it’s recommend to get new sunglasses.
When wearing sunglasses, you also want to find a frame that fits close to your eyes and prevents exposure from all sides.
“When you’re driving in the car, your side windows don’t always filter out the UV energy. You can get UV exposure if you’re in the car not wearing sunglasses,” says Dr. Langford.
Dr. Langford says polarized glasses don’t necessarily offer more UV protection, but they can eliminate glare from surfaces like sand, snow, water, and when you’re driving.