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When you live in the "Sunshine State," you should consider how the sun affects your eyes. While bright light and glare make it difficult to see on sunny days, the sun can also be a danger to your eyes.

Why do eye doctors say sunglasses are important for your eyes?

The eye doctors at Sevigny & Associates Eye Care in Wauchula, Arcadia, Lake Placid and Sebring see patients with sun-related eye damage. Just like your skin, your eyes need protection from the sun's UV rays. These rays can create a variety of eye problems including snow blindness and some irreversible disorders that may threaten your ability to see. We are all about educating our clients

What are UV rays? 

UV -- or ultraviolet -- rays are invisible to your eye. Ultraviolet light consists of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The earth's atmosphere stops UVC rays before they reach your eyes. However, without proper protection, UVA and UVB can damage your eyes. 

How can UV rays damage your eyes? 

The sun’s rays can cause proteins inside your eye's lens to become opaque or cloudy. This condition is commonly known as cataracts. When you have cataracts, you will have trouble seeing a night, won't see colors as clearly and find reading to be difficult. Cataracts cannot be treated or reversed. The only fix is for the cataracts to be surgically removed. 

Additionally, UV rays can damage your retina, alter your eye tissues and cause photokeratitis, or snow blindness, a temporary but painful loss of vision due to overexposure to the sun's UV rays. The condition is essentially a sunburned cornea.

What kind of sunglasses offer the best protection? 

Look for sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays. The labeling should say "UV 400," indicating the glasses block UV rays as small as 400 nanometers. Along with UV rays, you should also protect your eyes from glare caused by the light you can see. Choose sunglasses that block 75 to 90 percent of visible light.

Optometrists talk about polarized lenses. What are they? 

Polarized lenses filter out the glare that radiates up from horizontal surfaces when sunlight bounces off of these surfaces. Optometrists recommend these lenses if you do lot of outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, golfing or skiing. 

I already wear glasses. How can I protect my eyes?

At Sevigny & Associates Eye Care, we can help you find sunglasses and eye protection that truly meet your needs. A pair of non-prescription clip-ons sunshades or wraparound glasses that fit over your lenses may be the best option for you. Or, we can order you a pair of fashionable prescription sunglasses allowing you to see clearly and safely when outdoors. We can also fit you with prescription lenses that darken once you go outside or a pair of UV-blocking contact lenses in your prescription. When worn alongside a non-prescription pair of sunglasses, you'll have optimum eye protection. 

Not sure what type of sun protection is right for you? Contact our office today at and we'll be happy to assist you.