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UV Rays and Your Eyesight: What They Are and How to Protect Yourself

Spending time outdoors comes with the territory of summer. However, like your skin, your eyes need protection from the sun’s rays as you soak it up or lie in the shade. There’s a connection between UV rays and your eyesight you’d be remiss to ignore. Here’s a helpful breakdown of what UV rays are and how to best protect your eyes as you enjoy summer fun.

What exactly are UV rays?

You may remember UV (ultraviolet) radiation from science class. Sometimes mischaracterized as UV light, ultraviolet rays come in three categories: UVC, UVB, and UVA. Also, due to their high energy, UV rays cannot be seen.


UV rays with the highest energy levels, UVC rays are intercepted largely by our atmosphere’s ozone layer. That’s beneficial for us since these rays could pose the biggest problems for our skin and eyes.


Like UVC, UVB rays are partially blocked by our ozone layer—but not all. Prolonged exposure to UVB rays can cause sunburn, wrinkles, and further skin conditions. This type of exposure also leads to eye issues, including snow blindness.


With the least energy present in UV rays, UVA rays are the closest to visible light. However, UVA rays carry risks as well. They are able to slip through the cornea, making it to our eyes’ retina and lens. Indeed, some kinds of cataracts seem to be related to UVA exposure.

How can you protect yourself?

Even with our atmosphere’s ozone layer, we still need to take measures to protect our eye health from UV radiation. But how? The best method when it comes to UV rays and your eyesight is opting for a pair of solid quality sunglasses. Aim for shades that block 100 percent of UV rays to ensure full protection. This can be done with the help of an optician.


Grasping what UV rays and your eyesight means for you is the first step in keeping your eyes safe from overexposure. The second–and equally important—step is donning a UV-blocking pair of sunglasses, whether in the sun or shade. Come by a Mississippi Eye Care location and we’ll get you outfitted in a flash! Plus, you can learn more about keeping your eyes healthy and protected year-round by browsing through our blog!