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Many people are cheered by a bright, sunny day, but the effect of all that sunlight on the eyes is a less sunny proposition. UV and glare can create a variety of issues, from dangerous "snowblindness" to irreversible disorders that threaten your eyesight. Here are some frequently asked questions about the role of sunglasses in protecting the eyes from harm. If you want to know more about choosing the right sunglasses, call Dr. Lyons at 1-775-783-1111 today.

What are UV rays? UV stands for ultraviolet, a band of spectrum invisible to the eye. Ultraviolet light consists of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. UVC rays are stopped in Earth's atmosphere before they reach the eye, but UVA and UVB can both reach the eye and potentially damage it.

How does UV affect unprotected eyes? UV rays can cause proteins inside the lens to become opaque or cloudy, a condition known as cataracts. Cataracts can interfere with night vision, reduce your ability to see colors, and make reading difficult; they cannot be reversed, only removed. UV exposure can also cause retinal damage contributing to conditions like macular degeneration, changes in the eye tissues, and a temporary but irritating "sunburn" of the cornea called photokeratitis.  (Not to mention wrinkles!!!)

How do I know my glasses will protect my eyes? Choose glasses that claim to block at least 99 percent of UV rays -- UVA as well as UVB. Look for label reading "UV 400," since this designation means that the glasses block UV rays as small as 400 nanometers, providing 100 percent eye protection. Of course you need to protect your eyes from the glare caused by the visible spectrum as well. To accomplish this, select products that block 75 to 90 percent of visible light.

What are polarized lenses? Polarized lenses are specially designed to filter out certain types of glare that tend to radiate upward from horizontal surfaces when sunlight bounces off of these surfaces. They are recommended for tasks such as boating, fishing, skiing, golfing, jogging, and driving. 

What types of glasses can I choose from? We are able to provide you with a wide range of sunglass options. If you normally wear glasses to correct your eyesight, the best solution is a pair of prescription sunglasses.  If you do not like the idea of keeping track of two pairs of glasses, you may be happy with a non-prescription pair of clip-ons that are custom made to match the shape and curvature of your glasses.  A custom clip will not scratch the lens like a non-custom clip which may have a different curvature. Matching the exact shape of your prescription lenses also makes them more cosmetically acceptable.  A third option is glasses that darken when exposed to bright light.

What additional types of protection should I consider? If you worry about light, including harmful UV, leaking in through sides or top of your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to reduce some of this exposure. If you use prescription eyewear to correct your eyesight, you may also want to think about getting a pair of UV-blocking contact lenses in your prescription. These lenses may be worn alongside a non-prescription pair of sunglasses for optimum eye protection.

For more information on choosing the right sunglasses, contact our office today.

Resolve to take care of your eyes in 2017!

What is better than a pair of lenses that provide the clearest possible vision?  Two pair!  Ask us about our buy one, get one free Ultimate Lens Packages.  This smoking deal lasts through 2017.

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