Protecting eyes from the sun and what employees need to know about sunglasses

Blog_Sunprotection for the Eyes
HEALTH & WELLNESS

While exposure to sunlight can have positive effects on our overall health, including heightened energy and mood, your employees need to defend themselves from its potentially harmful ultraviolet rays. People are increasingly diligent about protecting their skin by wearing hats and sunscreen (don't forget your neck and ears). But eyes need protection, too.

As we head into spring and summer – ­­when we spend greater amounts of time outside and UV rays are the strongest –it's important to remind your employees about the importance of UV eye protection and to show how our benefits make it easy to stay safe (and stylish) whenever the sun is out.

Basic facts of UV, outdoor light and our eyes­­

While all 3 types of ultraviolet light produced by the sun – UVC, UVC and UVA – can be harmful to human skin and eyes, UVA rays are the most damaging.1 Unlike UVC rays, which are completely filtered out by the ozone layer and UVB rays, which are only partially absorbed, UVA rays have a level of 95% penetration through the Earth's atmosphere.2 They are also constant throughout the day and can penetrate windows and clouds.3

In addition to the obvious signs of overexposure to the sun (e.g., blurry vision, light sensitivity and redness), emerging research points to a possible link to long-term vision issues ranging from the corneal sunburn to cataracts, macular degeneration and eye cancer.4 Rays reflected off snow, ice, water or cement, can cause eyes to sunburn, potentially resulting in temporary blindness.It can also cause pterygium (surfer's eye) that can eventually interfere with vision.6

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History of sunglasses:

In addition to protecting our eyes, sunglasses make us look cool. Join us as we travel back in time and take a closer look at the evolution of sunglasses ... and how they help make a fashion statement. Take a look.

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Misconceptions about eye protection from harmful UV rays

Given all we know about these harmful UV rays, there still exists a number of misconceptions about protecting ourselves from them. Many people believe, for example, that cloudy and cool days mean fewer UV rays – most likely because the sun doesn't feel as hot when it's not shining so bright. According to the American Cancer Society, however, it is unquestionable that UV rays can pass through clouds.7

Another common fallacy: sunglasses are seasonal. While you can choose the sunglasses you want to wear based on the season, unlike UV rays, sunglasses are not just for sunny, summer days. Proper eye (and skin) protection are critical year-round.8

Some people might also wrongfully suggest that cheap sunglasses don't offer enough protection. It's vital to check for a label that says “99% UV protection guaranteed” or “100% protection guaranteed,” which can be found on even lower priced glasses.9

And having dark sunglass lenses doesn't necessarily mean higher UV protection. While 39.4% of Americans adults believe this, the truth is that dark lenses, without that adequate UV protection, can be worse than wearing no sunglasses at all.10 Also, the frame should be large enough to prevent the UV rays from getting around the edges of the lens.11


Sun Protection Callout


How EyeMed helps

Keeping eyes safe from UV rays should be a priority for all ages, and at EyeMed we’re proud to say we make it easy for our members to do just that. As part of the core benefit, your employees can:

  • Choose to use their frame allowance for prescription sunglass frames*
  • Take advantage of a 40% everyday second-pair prescription sunglasses discount (second-pair 40% discount does not apply to non-prescription sunglasses, but members save 20% off non-prescription sunglasses at participating in-network providers)*

At EyeMed, we believe our members’ futures are bright. So, we make it easy for them to wear shades.

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* See plan for details

1"Ultra-violet and Blue Light Aggravate Macular Degeneration, American Macular Degeneration Foundation," accessed April 7, 2021.

2 "Detrimental Effects of UVB on Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells and Its Role in Age-Related Macular Degeneration," Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, August 13, 2020.

3 "Detrimental Effects of UVB on Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells and Its Role in Age-Related Macular Degeneration," Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, August 13, 2020.

"Protecting Eyes from UV Rays Today Helps Save Healthy Vision in the Future," Prevent Blindness, April 29, 2019.

"What is Photokeratitis - Including Snow Blindness?" by Daniel Porter, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Oct. 29, 2020.

"What Is Surfer's Eye?" by Whitney Seltman, WebMD, September. 12, 2020.

"Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation: What Is UV Radiation?" American Cancer Society, revised July 10, 2019.

"Why You Should Wear Sunglasses Year-Round" by Allison Collins, All About Vision, updated January 2021.

"Seven Myths About Sunglasses That Could Damage Your Vision," American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), July 24, 2020.

10 "UV Eye Protection and Sunglasses," Think About Your Eyes, accessed April 7, 2021.

11 "UV and Sunglasses: How to Protect Your Eyes," by Gary Heiting, OD, All About Vision, updated January 2021.

12 "Seven Myths About Sunglasses That Could Damage Your Vision," American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), July 24, 2020.

13 "Why Should You Wear Sunglasses Year-Round?" by Allison Collins, All About Vision, updated January 2021.

14 "Seven Myths About Sunglasses That Could Damage Your Vision," American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), July 24, 2020.

15 "Seven Myths About Sunglasses That Could Damage Your Vision," American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), July 24, 2020.

16 "Seven Myths About Sunglasses That Could Damage Your Vision," American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), July 24, 2020.

17 "UV and Sunglasses: How to Protect Your Eyes," by Gary Heiting, OD, All About Vision, updated January 2021.