Myth #1: All sunglasses have UVA and UVB protection
Despite the health risks of UV exposure, not all sunglasses have UV protection. Since UV protection is crucial to shielding eyes from damaging radiation, it is imperative to look for a label, sticker or tag indicating UV protection before purchasing a pair of sunglasses.
Myth #2: Sunglasses with UV protection are expensive
You do not have to pay a premium to get proper UV protection. UV protection should always be provided, regardless of price or retail location. Where price may play a factor is in sunglass frames, lens quality and/or a specific lens material.
Myth #3: The darker the lens is, the better the protection
UV protection has nothing to do with the darkness or color of a lens. Dark lenses without adequate UV protection can actually be worse than no sunglasses at all because they cause the eye’s pupil to dilate, which then increases retinal exposure to the unfiltered UV.
Myth #4: Children don't need sunglasses as much as adults
Children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults, increasing their susceptibility to UV eye damage. And, unlike the mature ocular lens of an adult eye, a child’s immature lens cannot filter out UV as easily. The need for UV protection for children is compounded by the fact that it is easier to find youth sunglasses that do not provide adequate UV protection. That’s why parents should always have their children's sunglasses tested for UV protection.
Myth #5: You don’t need sunglasses on cloudy days
UV rays are just as dangerous on cloudy days as they are on clear days. Just like skin, eyes can accumulate harmful UV radiation on overcast days so be sure to wear proper eye and skin protection while outside.
Myth #6 Sunglasses are only a matter of style, not health
Prolonged exposure to UV light can cause serious long-term damage to the human eye. The negative effects can take years or even decades to show and can have a big impact on vision health later in life. A good pair of sunglasses can help minimize the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Myth #7: Sunglasses are not appropriate for people with prescription eyeglasses
Anyone who is exposed to UV should protect themselves with sunglasses. People who regularly wear prescription glasses should wear Rx sunglasses when outside. And even those with contacts should wear sunglasses to protect exposed parts of the eye. An optometrist can outfit you in the perfect pair of prescription sunglasses.
Myth #8: The sun is weaker in the winter, meaning eyes are safer and less apt to be exposed to damaging UV rays
Similar to cloudy days, cold days also carry UV risk. The sun is present year-round which means UV rays are a constant regardless of weather. UV rays can’t be seen but their long-term effects are extremely damaging to the eyes.
Myth #9: The eye is no more vulnerable to solar UV than other parts of the body.
More than any other organ but skin, the eye can suffer significant injury from the sun.
- The Vision Council