You would notice that several sunglasses and eyeglasses come equipped with UV protection in the market. But, most often, this eyewear also costs more than the regular kind. UV or ultraviolet is a kind of light that might harm the eyes, human skin, and the hair.
What Are UV Rays?
Ultraviolet rays or ultraviolet light refers to - energy produced primarily by the sun and other celestial bodies. The same light can also, however, be produced artificially in solariums and during arc welding (joining of metals using heat). Other places we find ultraviolet waves or rays are in disinfectants, water purifiers, fluorescent lighting, even storm lightning.
Ultraviolet manifests in us being able to see the light or see objects around us using the light and feeling the heat on our bodies. It doesn't indicate that UV is always harmful, however, let's understand where and when ultraviolet can positively affect our bodies.
Types of UV Rays: A Quick Insight
There are different kinds of ultraviolet rays, specifically which reach the Earth. These are ultraviolet A, B, and C, also called UVA, UVB, and UVC. All three differ based on their wavelengths, where UVA has the longest wavelength, and UVC has the shortest. As a result, UVC is completely absorbed into the Earth's crust, leaving UVB and UVA exposed to life. The effects of these two forms of ultraviolet rays can be dire with overexposure.
Benefits of Ultraviolet Rays
You may have heard people saying that the sun gives you vitamin D. Though this is not entirely accurate, it is close since the ultraviolet rays produced by the sun catalyse the production and processing of vitamin D in our bodies.
The appropriate amount of UV helps keep our bodies healthy by facilitating bone development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight a few times a week should suffice to keep our bones better nourished.
Ultraviolet has several uses on the human skin. You may or may not have heard of ultraviolet treatment for the skin. The fact is that it has healing effects on muscles when used in the appropriate quantities.
Here is a list of the benefits of ultraviolet rays:
Vitamin D production and processing
Lowered blood pressure: Adequate exposure to ultraviolet light can reduce blood pressure, reducing the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Melanin production: UV increases the amount of melanin in the body via direct exposure. It helps reduce paleness and puts the body less at risk of melanin deficiency diseases.
Serotonin production: Serotonin is one of the happy hormones, and the appropriate processing of vitamin D helps produce the same.
Purification and sterilization purposes: UV can do away with contaminants and harmful microbes. That is why it becomes an essential element for disinfectants, water purifiers, air purifiers, sanitisers, etc.
- Skin treatment: UV treatment for skin diseases like psoriasis and vitiligo is very effective. However, it needs to be used in a sterile environment with consistent supervision to work without ill effects.
Harmful Effects of Ultraviolet Rays
Having understood how UV benefits us, it's time to check out some of the downsides of too much UV exposure. Naturally, people in professions that require staying out under the sun for extended periods feel these effects the most.
Here are some of the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation:
Sunburn and suntan: Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause sunburn and suntan on the skin. These can then become painful lesions that pain while peeling off a week to ten days after formation. A suntan may hold positive effects for some, as several individuals like to come back with a tan after going on a beach vacation. However, excessive suntan can turn into itchy and painful sunburn.
Premature ageing of the skin: Ultraviolet rays have ageing effects on the skin because the exposure weakens the epidermis or outer skin cells. It makes the skin thin, sag and droop, making for a very aged look. Ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin and even weaken skin cells under the epidermis.
Higher risk of skin cancer: The most common skin cancers are melanoma, basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer, which primarily form on the face, the scalp, neck and all parts of the arms, including hands. It is because these body parts have continuous exposure to sun rays containing UV. The following are the most common skin cancers caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light:
Melanoma is cancer in the skin pigmentation cells or the melanin-containing cells in the body. These cells are spread throughout the body, making this type of cancer the deadliest.
Basal cell cancer comes about in the bottom of the epidermis and produces new cells when the human body sheds old ones.
You can find Squamous cells on the surface cells of skin tissue and some organs and tracts of the body. Carcinoma in these cells manifests when the growth of these cells is out of control and random.
Eye sight problems:
Weakened eyesight: One gradually weakens their vision due to constant exposure to UV rays & also because they easily penetrate through. With this, we may develop power in our eyes and possibly need to wear glasses to correct the same.
- Partial or complete blindness: Similar to how UV exposure can cause weakened eyesight, the same property can also cause partial blindness (such as night blindness) or even complete blindness in more severe cases.
Ways to Protect Ourselves from UV
For different parts of the body, there are various ways to protect oneself from UV radiation.
Blocking ultraviolet light from touching our skin and eyes is the best way to protect ourselves from its ill effects. Other measures include:
- Using sunblock lotion for the skin
- Wear full-sleeved clothes and full-length trousers/pants.
- Use more headgear such as hats and caps to protect the skin.
- Wear protective sunglasses and eyeglasses with UV and blue block lenses
- Installing translucent solar shades in rooms that do not block the light from outside but do so just enough to block excessive UV rays.
Eye Protection from UV Rays
We may have heard our parents and others telling us not to look directly into the sun, especially without protective eyewear like sunglasses, as it may blind us. While this may sound overly dramatic, there is some truth to it. Overexposure to UV rays can cause eyesight problems, and hence eye care optics in the form of men's and women's sunglasses becomes essential.
Sunglasses that protect the eyes from UV radiation should say one of the following two things on their packaging:
- 100% protection against UVA as well as UVB
- 100% protection against UV 400
If your shades promise you either of these two, it means they offer you complete protection against ultraviolet light. The criteria for total protection against UV is that - they must block a minimum of 75% of the light coming to your eyes through the sunglasses.
At most, it should be 90%, beyond which it would be not easy to see where you're going in the first place. This adds on to blocking a minimum of 99% of UV light using a film layer to protect you from eye problems.
Benefits of UV Protection in Sunglasses and Eyeglasses
Eye protection using UV protecting sunglasses and eyeglasses are vital because they contain a strong, thin coating that blocks these rays. Most often, branded sunglasses offer UV protection, which is one of the primary reasons many of them are very expensive. Additionally, one may have this layer added by an optician to their regular glasses.
People with high power in their eyes and partial inability to see surroundings (without the glasses/contact lenses) prefer getting their sunglasses embedded with their eyeglass power.
These are customised glasses meant for a specific person. Only a certified optician can make these customisations. Hence, expert opticians include this customisation in their service fee while some charge their clients extra.
The benefits of UV protection in sunglasses and eyeglasses extend to the highest eye protection level. You may have noticed that some people's eyeglasses have a dark tint, but they are not necessarily sunglasses. These are custom made eyeglasses for individual customers. Such glasses protect us from the ill effects of UV radiation mentioned above.
If you're on the lookout for both sunglasses for men, sunglasses for women, or maybe the best pair of kids sunglasses, visit our website and make a purchase. You can also explore our exclusive range by visiting our Optica offline stores nearest to your house.