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UV Protection: Is It Worth It?

We’ve all heard about the dangers UV rays pose to eyesight. As a result, glasses and sunglasses manufacturers often tout UV protection among the benefits their eyewear provides. In fact, we’re one of them!

Let’s just get it out of the way: UV protection is 100% worth it.

You may have other questions, though, such as “What are UV rays?” and “Why do we need UV protection?” In this article, we answer those questions and more.

What are UV rays?

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of radiation that comes from the sun. It can also be created by artificial sources like tanning beds and welding equipment.

Back to the sun: It sends out many forms of light and radiation, but only about 10% is UV. Still, this 10% can be harmful to our skin and eyes.

Just as sunscreen is essential for reducing your risk of skin cancer, eyewear with UV protection is a must-have for eyes.

Likewise, similar to how health experts recommend wearing sunscreen all year, the same recommendation applies to sunglasses. After all, UV rays aren’t only hitting the planet during beach season. It’s best to stay safe all year long.

How is vision affected by UV light?

UV light causes long-term and short-term eye damage, and these effects can appear only hours after exposure. Simply closing your eyes or staying in shaded areas isn’t enough. Bright reflections from surfaces – such as water, metal, or glass – can damage your eyes even when you’re not in direct sunlight.

While there are many common vision problems, overexposure to UV light has been linked to several serious conditions.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is typically related to age. However, prolonged UV exposure can increase the risk of developing it. This condition is caused by a weakening of parts of the retina, making it harder to focus and see clearly.


A cataract is a cloudy area that develops on the lens of your eye. Much like macular degeneration, this is a condition that usually affects older people. Overexposure to UV light has been linked to increased risk for developing cataracts.


Sometimes referred to as “snow blindness,” photokeratitis is a painful condition that usually takes 6-12 hours after exposure to develop. It is caused by an overexposure to UV-B rays.


Pterygium is a pink growth that forms on the white area of your eye. This condition is linked to exposure to UV rays. The only treatment for pterygium is surgery.

Having the right pair of sunglasses or regular eyeglasses with UV protection can help prevent these conditions.

Do I need UV protection on my glasses?

UV protection is important in both sunglasses and regular glasses. Nowadays, many sunglasses have UV protection built into the lens as a separate layer. It doesn’t matter if they are polarized or non-polarized. Any style of sunglasses provides UV protection.

You may be surprised to learn that regular eyeglasses can also protect against UV rays. Adding a 100% UV protection lens coatings will protect your eyes, even without the darkening effect that sunglasses provide.

Did you know? All glasses from Yesglasses come with free, built-in UV protection.

How long does a UV protection coating last?

Most lens coatings, including UV protection, last the lifetime of the prescription. An eye prescription should typically last between one and three years. At that time, you should be thinking about getting new glasses anyway.

As mentioned before, UV protection in sunglasses is built directly into the lens layers, so you won’t have to worry about it wearing out. If you decide on a pair of prescription sunglasses, you should still change to a new pair after one to three years.

Get built-in UV protection from Yesglasses

Don’t let your eyes go unprotected! All our lenses come with a UV protection coating applied free of charge. Browse our collection and find the perfect pair of prescription or non-prescription glasses and sunglasses.

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