The eye care physicians in our Laguna Hills practice help you understand the importance of UV protection

In coastal locales such as Southern California, residents tend to be extremely well versed in the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) radiation as they pertain to the skin. We even understand the powerful effects sun exposure has on our vehicles, and take care to protect ourselves and our valuables with effective coverage.

UV radiation can lead to premature aging, skin cancer, and faded paint on a vehicle. Sun exposure also has an effect on our eyes. Studies have linked repeated UV exposure to eye conditions including macular degeneration, photokeratisis, pterygia, and cataracts.

Sunglasses are as important as sunscreen

In order to protect our eyes from damage and increased risk of concerning eye conditions, we are wise to wear sunglasses in the same manner we wear sunscreen. UV rays are not dangerous only when we are exposed for a long period of time, nor only when the sun is shining brightly. Ultraviolet solar radiation reaches through the fog bank and heavy marine layer we often see in the morning and evening hours. Our sun protection, then, should include sunglasses that block all types of UV rays and HEV rays.

When choosing sunglasses, it is beneficial to consider more than the latest style:

  • The color and darkness of lenses does not necessarily translate to UV protection. Darker does not mean better. Many styles today have lighter, amber-colored lenses that provide just as much UV protection as dark gray lenses.
  • HEV protection is also necessary, and this does correlate with the color of sunglass lenses. The goal with HEV protection is to block blue light. This is often accomplished with an offset hue such as copper or bronze.
  • Large-framed sunglasses or those that fit closely block out more light and can be far gentler on the delicate skin around the eye.
  • Eye protection with proper sunglasses is especially important for children and those who spend more time outdoors. Eye damage from UV exposure is cumulative, and studies show that up to half of a person’s lifetime exposure occurs by the age of 18.


(949) 441-5444

The team at the Orange County Eye Institute is dedicated to helping our patients maintain optimal eye health. Contact us today to schedule your eye exam.


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