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Does UV protection matter when choosing a sunglass?


Choosing a good UV protection sunglass is crucial. We always talk about how sunlight can damage our skin. Long exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to sunburn and cancer is no longer a secret. But did you know too much UV rays can harm your eyes too? 

Extended exposure or direct exposure to sun’s UV rays may contribute to damaging the cells in and out of our eyes. Eye diseases like cataract, macular degeneration (ARMD) or pterygium and wrinkles and age spots surrounding your eyes are highly related to long exposure of UV rays. 

What is UV ray?

Many people actually refer UV rays to “UV light”. This is actually not correct as we couldn’t see UV rays. UV rays are invisible as they do not fall within the range of visible light. There are three categories of UV rays, including: 

  1. UVA

UVA rays have lowest energy among three categories of UV rays, which means it is closer to visible light. UVA rays can actually penetrate through our cornea and lens and eventually reach the retina at the back of our eyes! This is why long exposure of UVA ray has been related to the development of cataract and macular degeneration (ARMD)

  1. UVB

UVB rays have higher energy than UVA rays but lower than UVC rays. UVB rays are partially filtered by the ozone layer, the residue of UVB rays can reach the Earth’s surface. Extended exposure of UVB rays is associated with ocular diseases such as pterygium and photokeratitis. Fortunately, the cornea of our eye will absorb 100 percent of UVB rays, hence UVB rays are unlikely to lead to cataract and ARMD. 

  1. UVC

UVC rays are the highest energy uv rays and could be most harmful to our eyes and skin. Fortunately, the atmosphere’s ozone layer is able to block the UVC rays from the sunlight virtually. However, the depletion of the ozone layer potentially could allow UVC rays to reach the Earth’s surface. This will result in serious UV-related health problems. 

How to prevent UV rays?

Now we have understood how damaging the sun’s UV rays are to our eyes. In order to prevent our eyes from overexposure to UV rays, the ideal way is to wear sunglasses, especially when we are outdoors. Just like the name, sunglasses are designed to block UV rays and protect us from various eye diseases and eventually keep us away from eye wrinkles. 

How to choose sunglasses?

There are so many types of sunglasses in the market and they are not just available in optical shops but every corner shop, drug stores or even pasar malam! So, how should we choose and where to wear the sunglasses? Let’s follow the tips below.

  1. Look for sunglasses that actually block UV rays

There are sunglasses in the market that actually serve as fashion accessories and get nothing help in UV protection. Therefore, you shall look for sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays effectively. UVA and UVB rays have wavelength fall between 290 and 400nm. Alternatively, you may look for sunglasses with protection from  UV400.

UV protection
  1. Is the darker lens the better it is? 

NO! The amount of UV protection a sunglasses offers is totally unrelated to the colour nor the darkness of the lenses. It is entirely your preference.

For example, a fashionable sapphire-coloured lens can provide the same UV protection as dark gray lenses. 

You may ask our optometrists in Malaya Optical to verify how many percent of UV protection your sunglasses actually offer! 

  1. Perfect fit or wrap-around style

Choose sunglasses that fit you perfectly in terms of coverage. The bigger, more wrap, more coverage, the better it is to protect you from UV rays. Alternatively, you may opt for wrap-around sunglasses such as Jonathan Paul Sunglasses, so you are safe from indirect UV rays from the side, as well as direct UV rays from the front! 

  1. Can I have sunglasses with power?

Yes, you could! In Malaya Optical, we do carry several well-known brands that offer prescription sunglasses lenses such as Zeiss, Essilor Hoya and Kodak. You may now enjoy the sunlight without squinting to read or see in the distance. Also, time to bid farewell to the combination of contact lenses with sunglasses. 

  1. Even if your contact lenses block UV rays, sunglasses are still a need.

Yes yes, we know there are contact lenses that indicate UV-blocking. Think again, your contact lens is located on your cornea and it is able to block only the part in front of your cornea. How about your eyelids and other tissues that are not covered by the contact lens? Your skin around your eyes are so delicate and they need equivalent protection as your eyes from the harmful UV rays too.

  1. Do not take off your sunglasses when you are in the shade

Even though shade under trees or buildings reduce the exposure of UV and HEV (high-energy visible light) to a certain degree, your eyes are actually still exposed to UV rays reflected from buildings and roadways. So, remember to wear sunglasses even when you are in the shade. 

UV protection sunglass
  1. Winter? Wear it!

Sunglasses are equally important with your snow jacket. This is because fresh snow actually does reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays which is almost double up the overall exposure to solar UV rays! If you enjoy winter games such as skiing or snowboarding, you may choose the right lenses which have sufficient UV protection on the slopes. Nonetheless, UV protection sunglass with polarised lens is highly recommended too as glare are highly reduced .

Similarly, if you enjoy your outdoor lifestyle in a country that has no winter season, you may explore the specific-performance sunglasses or sport sunglasses.

UV protection kids sunglass
  1. Children? Wear it too!

The damage of UV rays to our eyes and skin is cumulative. This means the longer the time you have spent under sunlight throughout your life, the greater the risk of damage to your eyes and skin. 

With this in mind, you need to take care of UV protection since you are young. In fact, experts point that children are generally spending more time outdoors than most adults. Besides, children are more sensitive to UV rays as the lens inside a child’s eye is clearer than an adult’s lens. Hence UV rays can penetrate into a child’s eyes easier and deeper. 

Malaya Optical carries a number of UV protection kids sunglass that suits for infants to school children. Get your beloved kid a pair of sunglasses today. We always care about your kids’ eyes as much as we care about your eyes and vision. 

Schedule your appointment today with our optometrists in Malaya Optical for comprehensive eye examination. A small amount of power change can make a big difference in giving you the clearest and most comfortable vision outdoors. Most of us enjoy sunny days, but we still need to make sure we are fully protected from UV rays with the suitable UV protection sunglass too. 


Professional Optometrist & Designer Eyewear