Though we all love a bright, sunny day, the effect of all that sunlight on the eyes has less than sunny consequences. 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 The Optical at 50th and France at 952-920-5050 today.

What are UV rays? UV stands for ultraviolet, a band of the light spectrum invisible to the human 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 the interior lens of the eye 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, changes in the eye tissues, and a temporary but irritating "sunburn" of the cornea called photokeratitis.

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. 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 a high percentage of visible light.  All of our lenses have these features.

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

What types of glasses can I choose from? We are able to provide you with a wide range of sunglass options. The best option is to order a pair of prescription sunglasses that provide ample coverage. Regular eyeglass lenses that darken when exposed to bright light are okay in direct sunlight, but are not as effective behind the windshield of a car. We can also provide custom-made non-prescription clip-ons or wraparound sunglasses that fit over your regular eyeglasses.

What additional types of protection should I consider? If you worry about light leaking in through the sides or top of your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat or visor to reduce this exposure. 

For help in choosing the right sunglasses, stop into The Optical at 50th and France.