Saturday, May 19, 2012

The myth of "100% UV Protection" eyeglass lenses.

Image: NASA
In honor of May as UV Awareness Month, See for Life is going to bust one of the biggest UV myths out there.  But first, if you want to learn more about UV exposure and eye health, read our post on UV basics and the diseases that UV exposure causes, just click here.

Lenses for glasses and sunglasses often tout "100% UV protection".  Does that mean that no harmful UV rays at all enter you eye?  No.  It means that the lens blocks all the UV rays that hit the front of the lens.  However, recent studies have shown that UV rays still enter your eyes because up to 50% of your UV exposure comes from rays that reflect off the back of the lens (the side closest to your eye) and into your eyes!  On top of that, we get 40% of our UV exposure on cloudy days.  So even if the sun is not shining bright, there is still lots of ultraviolet radiation pouring into your eyes even if you have standard UV protection lenses.

This means that so-called "100% UV protection lenses" only really give you around 50% protection.  That's better than nothing.  But there are new lens technologies on the market that can take care of all that reflected UV light so that you really do have total UV protection (or close to it).

The only lens that we are aware of that gives you total UV protection is the Crizal Forte UV lens (and other Crizal lenses that have the advanced UV protection). Here is a diagram that explains how it works.

You may think that you are not getting enough safety bang for your buck when you buy sunglasses.  And you would be right.  But there are some things you can do to get more out of your sunglasses.  Many sunglasses (even by the big designers like Gucci and Versace)  can accept prescription lenses and your eye doctor will be able tell you which models these are and how you can order them with custom lenses - the kind of lenses that you can get with technology like Crizal Forte UV. 

Of course, if you wear glasses normally you can get prescription sunglasses with Crizal Forte UV.  However, if you have perfect vision you can order your sunglasses with "plano" lenses, which are lenses that have no vision correcting power.  You can even take your old sungalsses to the optometrist and get new Crizal Forte UV lenses put into them.

UV exposure is very dangerous and over time it can lead to vision loss from diseases like cataracts and age related macular degeneration.

Here is what vision is like with macular degeneration:

Here is what vision is like with cataracts:

Download our UV education brochure by clicking on the image below.

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