Do I need UV400 protection for my eyes?

When buying a new pair of sunglasses, it’s important that you not only consider style, but how well they will protect your eyes from UV damage. For many people who are new to the opticians, knowing what level of UV protection you need can be confusing. Luckily, here at D.I Blow Opticians, our optometrists can help when advising on UV sunglasses protection.

Below, we’ve put together a quick and easy guide on UV sunglasses protection, why it’s important and how to ensure you’re choosing the right pair for you.

RayBan Wayfarers, sold in D.I Blow Optician stores

What is UV400 protection?

You’re probably wondering what UV protection is best for sunglasses. The answer? UV400. UV400 is the most effective blocker of harmful ultraviolet light as it can filter out up to 99% of UVA and UVB rays. This makes them the best choice of sunglasses to ensure that your eyes are fully protected from sun damage.

UV damage to eyes: What are the risks?

UV damage is one of the biggest risks when it comes to maintaining optimal eye health. Generally, sunlight contains many different types of light rays including invisible and high-energy rays, also known as ultraviolet (UV). Frequent exposure to UV rays can have a detrimental impact on your vision, in particular UVA and UVB rays.

UV damage to eyes is one of the biggest concerns amongst optometrists as it can lead to both long and short-term eye health conditions. Regular visits to your opticians can help detect any onset conditions sooner rather than later, as well as help prevent any further damage.

UV damage to eyes can cause the following:

  • Photokeratitis – This is a type of sunburn to the outer layer of the cornea. This can occur after spending too much time at high altitudes with little sun protection, such as during snow sports. Symptoms can include red, swollen eyes, but this is only temporary and can be cleared up with the right treatment.
  • Cataracts – A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye. Whilst they are more commonly found in older adults, they can be found in younger people too. For people with cataracts, seeing through a cloudy lens is a little bit like looking out of a fogged-up window. Cataracts can make it difficult to read, drive a car or go on with everyday life, but they can usually be removed with a minor surgery.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a type of eye disease that can blur your central vision. This happens when aging causes damage to the macular which allows you to see more centrally.
  • Eye-lid cancer – Cancers of the eyelid, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are linked to UV exposure. Symptoms of eyelid cancer can include loss of eyelashes, a sore on the eyelid that bleeds or doesn’t heel or a notch on the eyelid. If you suspect you have any of these symptoms, it’s important that you consult your GP immediately.

This is why UV protection for eyes is so important. By investing in a good-quality pair of UV sunglasses, you can give your eyes a better chance of staying healthier for longer.

Optometrist holding a pair of UV400 sunglasses

Optometrist holding a pair of UV400 sunglasses

How to tell if a pair of sunglasses offers UV protection

If you’re ever unsure about whether your sunglasses offer UV protection or not, we can help. Whether you have a pair of sunglasses from us already or you’re hoping to get a new pair, we’re here to ensure you get the best possible UV protection for your eyes.

However, as a general rule of thumb, if your sunglasses offer UV protection, they will feature the CE or UV400 mark on the frame. The CE mark shows that the sunglasses conform with the health, safety and environmental requirements of the EU, which in turn, ensures that your eyes are receiving optimal UV protection.

The category for the lens shade (0-4) will also be marked on the frame.

What else can I do to prevent UV damage?

In addition to investing in a good-quality pair of UV sunglasses, there are other measures you can take to prevent UV damage to your eyes.

Alongside sunglasses, wearing a hat when exposed to UV light is another simple way to protect your eyes from any UV damage. SPF is also essential. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity.

Still got a question?

We’re always here to help. Visit us in store to speak with our team and explore our collection of UV sunglasses. You can find your nearest store here.