Understanding why we need sunglasses
Sunglasses are needed to protect our eyes from a very serious threat, damaging ultraviolet rays and glare. To understand this better it is important to know the different types of UV rays.
- UVC rays- Called “short wave” (wavelengths of 100-280 nanometers) – causes cancer and is the most dangerous type.
- UVB rays- Also called “medium wave” (wavelengths of 280-315 nanometers) – causes burning and wrinkles of the skin as well as cataracts of the eye.
- UVA rays- Also called “long wave”- contributes to the aging of skin and tanning.
Shielding your eyes from glare is another important component when protecting your vision with sun wear. There are three types of glare that your eyes are constantly combating against:
- Direct/Horizontal glare- Attacks from above, via the sun, and from below, via reflections.
- Reflected glare- Attacks from flat, smooth and shiny surfaces in front of you.
- Bounce back glare- Attacks from the sides and behind you.
Traditional Sun Wear- What to look for
Traditional sun wear, usually found in supermarkets and drugstores, will generally protect your eyes from UVA rays and horizontal glare. However, they typically will not protect against ALL other damaging ultraviolet rays and glare. In addition, many traditional sunglasses “mismanage” blue light, also called HEV radiation. Blue light is needed to see a balance of color. In addition, recent studies suggest that blue light might also contribute to retinal damage and lead to macular degeneration. Most traditional sun wear will block a portion of HEV rays. I always tell my patients that blue light needs to be managed, not blocked. When looking for sunglasses it is best to choose sun wear that protects at least 99-100% of both UVA and UVB rays. This includes frames marked “UV 400″, which blocks up to 400 nanometers, and protects against UVA and UVB rays. A suggestive pair of sun wear that protects your eyes from ALL harmful ultraviolet rays and glare in addition to properly managing blue light is Maui Jim.
Maui Jim Sun Wear- Understanding the difference
Maui Jim provides protection and comfort that surpasses traditional sun wear. Their patented PolarizedPlus®2 technology blocks all three types of glare (direct/horizontal, reflective, and bounce back) plus blocks 100% of UV rays up to 400 nanometers. The technology also properly manages blue light by blocking harmful rays while at the same time enhancing the positive blue rays needed for color balance. In addition, Maui Jim’s PolarizedPlus®2 technology enhances color saturation and depth too; providing a better visual comfort for the wearer. This means that eye strain, squinting, and the feeling of being overpowered by glare is eliminated, with these lenses, thereby providing a comfortable outdoor visual experience. Please remember that not all sunglasses block 100% of UV rays. If you are uncertain about the quality of UV rays in your current sun wear, I recommend you to bring your sunglasses to our office where we can test the level of UV protection. While you are there I encourage you to compare your sun wear to a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. I believe that wearing Maui Jim sunglasses will maximize your visual potential while providing state-of-the-art protection to your most precious asset: your eyes.