Published by Joanna | SCOJO New York on Jul 15th 2021
Finish the sentence: Sun's out…
Guns out. Right? We'd like to propose a new ending: shades on. In North America, exposure to harmful ultraviolet light — UV for short — increases during the late spring and early summer, putting not only your skin but also your eyes at risk. Exposing your eyes to bright sunlight increases the likelihood of macular degeneration, cataracts, and eye growths like cancer.
Unless you use sunlamps or tanning beds, the sun is likely to be your greatest source of exposure to UV light. UV comes in three forms: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC). With the shortest wavelength of the three types, UVC rays from the sun are absorbed by the ozone layer in the atmosphere. The sunlight that does make it to the earth's surface is a mix of UVA and UVB. Both are dangerous: UVA light can penetrate your eye's cornea and reach the lens and retina, and while UVB can't pass through glass, it can still cause eye damage.
Since July is UV Safety Awareness Month, it's a great time to think about how to best enjoy the sunshiny weather without impacting any of your important organs. We have a few tips:
1. When it's bright, be shady. With your glasses, anyway. Choose sunglasses that block out at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays (though a perfect score is always preferred). This doesn't necessarily mean a darker or more expensive lens; the only way to know if your shades are effective is to confirm the UV protection rating.
2. Check the weather. Checking for rain to see if you should keep that patio date or go on that hike? Be sure to check the UV index while you're at it. The scale, which goes from 0 to over 11, indicates how quickly you're likely to burn without proper protection. A high rating is your cue to be extra protective of your peepers.
3. Accessorize for health. You've already got a chic pair of sunglasses; why not finish the look off with a broad-brimmed hat? Tightly woven materials, the kind with no holes, provide the best protection. Hats not your thing? In East Asian cultures, sun umbrellas are another widely-used option that can provide a pop of interest for your 'fit.
4. Don't forget about the kids. Make sure your little ones are protected with sunglasses for children. Opt for wraparound styles that won't allow UV rays in from the sides and be sure to explain the importance of eye safety to your kids. If your baby is the kind with four legs and a tail, don't fret: the effects of UV exposure aren't significant enough to cause cataracts in dogs.
5. Be vigilant year-round. We tend to think of summer as the hottest, brightest, sunniest time of the year, and therefore the highest risk when it comes to UV exposure. However, up to 80% of UV rays are reflected on snow due to its high albedo. Exposure also increases with altitude, so if you're into mountain sports, goggles are the trick to minimizing sun-related eye damage.
6. Go green (but not greenhouse). Hear us out on this one! Right now, harmful high-energy UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer before they have a chance to reach earth and harm our eyes and skin. But what would happen if the ozone layer were to slowly disappear? Greenhouse gases create conditions in the upper atmosphere that speed up ozone depletion, and, according to the EPA, transportation and electricity production are the greatest contributors of greenhouse gases. So, it sounds farfetched, but: Save your eyes. Ride the bus.
Looking for a stylish pair of optical-grade reader sunglasses? Look no further than our newest release, the Allen Sun. Offering full UV protection, designed with our signature attention to detail and crafted with premium materials, the Allen Sun comes in two colors: smoky gray or tortoiseshell. Grab one of each and enjoy your hot girl (or hot guy) summer without compromising your eye health.