With warm weather coming, now’s the time that we start to enjoy our mountain community. From biking, to hiking, or perhaps something as simple as flying a kite on a sunny day, there’s something outdoors that every Coloradan is looking to enjoy this summer.
As Optometrists, we thought now would be a great time to introduce you to UV radiation, how it effects our eyes, and how you can protect them.
UV (ultraviolet) radiation is a spectrum of light that exists just beyond our ability to perceive with our eye. Being invisible to us doesn’t mean they can’t harm us. In fact, UV radiation can have profound impacts on our eye.
UV radiation is emitted primarily from the sun. Most man-made light sources do not emit UV rays, though some (such as the lights used in a tanning beds) do.
There are three types of UV radiation:
First, pay attention to the UV index if you are planning on being outside. The UV index can be found on most weather station websites and in the paper.
UV rays are at their strongest from 10 am – 4 pm. During these times it is recommended that you wear sunscreen (to protect your skin), and glasses that block UV rays to protect your eyes. Most sunglasses sold offer 100% UV protection, though some low quality pairs may not. All the sunglasses we carry are rated for 100% UV protection.
It’s important to remember that the level of tint a pair of glasses has is not reflective of how much UV radiation they block. Clear lenses can also block UV radiation. So long as a lens carries the “UV 400” rating (which means they block light waves up to 400 nanometers), they are effective at protecting your eyes.
Wearing a hat with a brim can also help protect your eye.
UV rays easily pass through clouds, meaning that even though it may not seem like you need to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day, it is still recommended to protect your eyes.
It’s also important to be mindful of the winter months, where UV rays can actually be more intense at times when there is lots of snow on the ground. Snow reflects a great deal of UV rays.
Have a safe summer, and remember to protect your eyes!