Dr. Fettig Answers Your Questions About Sun Protection
Q: What can a person do to protect herself from sun exposure??
A: The eyes need protection from UV rays just like your skin does. Wearing glasses and sunglasses that block the sun’s UV rays will help protect your eyes. Wearing a hat with a brim will also limit your eyes exposure of UV rays. Your eyes long term exposure to UV rays is the primary cause of cataracts. Protecting your eyes will help prevent cataracts.
Q: What exactly are “ultraviolet rays?”
A: UV or Ultraviolet rays are emitted from the sun. It is these rays that will damage your skin and cause cataracts in your eyes.
Q: Are sunglasses an important part of a sun protection plan?
A: Sunglasses will help limit your eyes exposure to harmful UV rays. Glasses and sunglasses should have built in features which block ultraviolet rays.
Q: What type of sunglasses best protect from UV rays?
A: Sunglasses which block “UV 400” are the best. Only purchase over the counter sunglasses which have a sticker showing this rating. Prescription sunglasses also need to have UV protection blocking the sun’s radiation of 400 nanometers which includes UVA and UVB rays.
Q: I have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?
A: Blue light is part of the visible spectrum and are emitted from most light sources including sunlight and digital screens such as smartphones and computer screens. Studies show that this part of the light spectrum can cause eye strain, headaches and sleeplessness. Eyeglass lenses can have a feature which blocks out blue light thus relieving symptoms noted above.
Q: I’ve heard of getting my skin sunburned, but can your eyes also get sunburned?
A: Yes! Your cornea (the covering over your eye) can get sunburned due to too much exposure to sunlight. Wearing eye protection and a hat with a brim will help limit your eyes exposure to sunlight.
Q: Do darker sunglasses mean better sun protection?
A: Darker lenses in your sunglasses does not mean better sun protection. The important thing is for the lenses in your sunglasses or regular glasses to have UV blocking properties. It does not matter how dark the lenses are.
Q: Does having a prescription make it harder to get the right sunglasses?
A: Any prescription your eyes need to see can be made into sunglasses which block harmful rays from the sun.