How do sunglasses protect your eyes from UV damage and glare?

How often do you enjoy the sun without wearing sunglasses? You may not realise it, but unprotected sun exposure over the years can cause UV damage to your eyes. What exactly is UV damage though, and how do sunglasses help to protect your eyes from it?

UV light and its dangers

UV stands for ultraviolet, a type of radiation emitted by the sun. There are 3 types of UV: UVA, UVB and UVC. We are protected from UVC by the earth’s atmosphere, but UVA and UVB can penetrate it and reach us.


UVA light is the most damaging for your eyes as it can reach the retina at the back of your eyes. Prolonged exposure builds up over the years, so although you might not see any effects now, your sight could be at risk further down the line. Cumulative UV damage is one of the known causes of cataracts and increases your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) too.

UVB light is what causes your skin to tan and can still reach your cornea at the front of your eye. It’s not as dangerous as UVA radiation but can still cause acute problems for your eyes, such as photokeratitis – a painful condition which can be described as having sunburnt eyes.

Both adults and children are at risk of UV damage. Children especially are at risk as their natural lenses are clearer and they have bigger pupils, both of which allow more damaging UV light through. So, it’s equally as important to protect their eyes from an early age to prevent complications as they get older.

How can UV protection sunglasses help your eyes?


Good quality sunglasses can protect your eyes from 100% of UV rays. How? Sunglasses have a special coating that stops UV light from passing into your eyes.

Wraparound style frames to pair with sunglass lenses in particular are great for both adults and children, as they give the most coverage, blocking UV rays reaching your eyes from most angles.

For added protection from glare, you might also want to consider polarised lenses. This extra coating significantly reduces the sun’s horizontal glare that reflects of surfaces like roads, water and snow, giving you more clarity of vision and less eye strain.

Browse our selection

If you’d like advice on sunglasses or are interested in browsing the collections we have in our practice, contact us to arrange a time. Our team will be more than happy to help you get your eyes ready for the summer months and beyond.