The Impact of UV Exposure on Your Eyes

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As we approach the longest day of the year and official start to summer on June 21, now is the perfect time to check how much Ultraviolet (UV) protection is in your eyeglasses.

UV light is all around us. Even on cloudy days. Most of us know that prolonged exposure to UV rays are bad for the skin, and that’s why we apply sunscreen to prevent sunburns. But what about the daily harm that UV light can have on our eyes?

UV damage is cumulative, occurring over a lifetime of exposure. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation and Prevent Blindness, this long-term UV exposure can cause damage to both the eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes. This can potentially lead to serious conditions, including cancers of the eyelids and eyes, sunburned corneas and cataracts.

Your eye health is too important to risk. That’s why it’s important to protect your eyes and the skin around them year-round by having both sunglasses and clear prescription eyeglasses that provide full UV protection outdoors.

Studies show that:

  • Only about one in four adults consistently wears sunglasses every time they go outdoors1.
  • Seven out of 10 prescription eyeglass wearers rely on their clear prescription eyewear to protect them from UV rays2.
  • 82% of adults make their kids wear sunscreen. But only 32% make their kids wear sunglasses.
  • Up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays occurs before age 18.

Give Your Eyes the UV Protection They Deserve:

  • Clear Lenses: Ask your eye doctor to recommend a lens material that provides full UV protection.
  • Clear to Dark or Polarized: Self-tinting or photochromic lenses are clear indoors and dark outdoors. Polarized lenses cut glare and enhance color contrast. Both options typically offer full UV protection but be sure to check with your eye doctor.
  • Sunglasses: Not all dark or tinted lenses block UV rays. Look for the “100% UVA/UVB” or “UV400” labels. If you’re not sure – ask your eye care professional for guidance.
  • Wrap Around Frames: Consider larger frame styles that wrap around your face to provide the best coverage and side protection.
  • Pair up: Take advantage of your VSP member second pair discount and other offers by selecting prescription sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
  • Don’t Forget the Little Ones: Children’s eyes are still developing and are especially vulnerable to UV radiation. Fit them with 100% UV protective sunglasses and a hat.
  • Annual Comprehensive Eye Exams: It’s important an eye doctor monitor your eye health – including for potential UV exposure related issues.

Be sure to ask your VSP network doctor about ZEISS clear lenses with UVProtect technology. When you purchase qualifying premium ZEISS lenses from a VSP Premier Program location, you can earn up to a $50 rebate with the exclusive ZEISS Premium Lens Bonus Offer Rebate through July 2018.

This is a guest post by our partners at ZEISS. 

Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Vision Care’s blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

1. VisionWatch (2018), The Vision Council’s 16-year running study of the U.S. ophthalmic market (n=10,000 consumer interviews per month).
2. The Vision Council Market Analysis Report (2017), Analysis of industry data sourced from VisionWatch.


  • What sunglass companies carry 100% UVA/UVB or UV400 protection?

  • Wendy L Roberts says:

    Give us information on PINGUEKULA! I actually have this “disease” and it’s a result of sun exposure!

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