Does Wearing Sunglasses Actually Protect Your Eyes?

Does Wearing Sunglasses Actually Protect Your Eyes?

You’re headed to the beach, and you’re fully prepared: towel, sunscreen, and plenty of adult beverages to ensure your frisbee game is immaculate. There’s one problem: your sunglasses. Sure, the lenses are dark and framed in the most stylish shape, but unless they offer true UV protection, your eyes are in danger. 

You know the team at Stoggles takes safety seriously, but we also take style seriously. Together we’ll talk about whether or not your bargain bin sunglasses are protecting your eyes and what you can do to make sure your peepers are safe in the sun. 

What’s the Big Deal With the Sun?

Like your skin, the sun burns. A sunburn on your eye, however, can lead to massive eye-related issues that can become permanent. Unlike your skin, you can’t slather sunscreen on your eyeballs (without some serious stinging). 

The sun doesn’t just make your eyes water or make you uncomfortable. There’s real damage when your eyes are exposed to UV rays. The sun emits two rays that are particularly damaging: UVA rays and UVB rays. Here’s what ultraviolet radiation does to your vision.


An uncomfortable eye condition that can result from a few hours of unprotected sun exposure is also known as snow blindness. This condition happens when light reflected off of a surface like sand, snow, or water penetrates the eye. 

Symptoms of photokeratitis include:

  • Itching, burning, and watery eyes
  • Feeling like there is something in your eyes like dirt or grit
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Temporary blindness (with vision returning soon after you are indoors, out of the sunlight)

Photokeratitis, like infectious keratitis, usually goes away on its own within a few days, but sometimes symptoms may last for a few weeks. See your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you have concerns.


If you’ve ever noticed a small, red lump in the whites of your eyes, you might have noticed a pterygium. No, it’s not the name of a prehistoric animal; it’s the medical term for a condition called surfer’s eye. 

Like photokeratitis, surfer’s eye happens when you’re exposed to sunlight reflected off of another surface, in this case, typically water. Over time, a small, benign mass forms in the conjunctiva (the white part) of your eye. The lump is red and may cause occasional irritation. The only way to remove it is through surgery. 


Commonly thought of as a disease affecting only the elderly, cataracts can actually appear much sooner (we’re talking age 30). Cataracts form when the proteins in the eye begin to break down and clump together. Eventually, the cataract can cover the entire cornea, creating a clouding effect and robbing you of your vision. 

While age is a common factor for developing cataracts, sun exposure also places you at risk. Not being able to keep your eyes safe from harmful rays can place you at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Unless you want to deteriorate your eye health before you go over the hill, we’d recommend eye protection that blocks UV light. 

Macular Degeneration

The macula is a structure located in the back of your eye, in the retina. The macula is responsible for precise, detailed vision. Like cataracts, macular degeneration can occur with age, but exposure to the sun speeds up the process. 

There’s no cure for macular degeneration, and eventually, it could cost you your eyesight. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you keep your eyes protected from UV radiation with eyewear that effectively blocks harmful UV rays. 

A Note About Blue Light

It’s not only the sun’s UV rays that damage your eyes. The sun also emits blue light, which like ultraviolet rays, can penetrate your cornea and reach your retina. Blue light, however, is also emitted from devices like your laptop, smartphone, and tablet, as well as LED televisions and light bulbs. 

To keep your eyes completely safe from the sun’s harmful rays, you need both UV-blocking lenses and blue light-blocking lenses. Both are important for your eye health. 

Do Sunglasses Work?

Clearly, your eyes need protection from UV exposure. Are your regular, quality sunglasses enough? Probably not. The dark shading on your glasses doesn’t equate to UV protection, and some brands don’t provide the protection you need. 

At Stoggles, we craft our eyewear from lightweight, ultra-durable polycarbonate material, which is naturally UV-blocking. That means your eyes are protected from sun damage every time you put them on. 

What About Cloudy Days?

Cloudy days might make you think you can forgo a pair of sunglasses, but that’s a bad idea. The problem is that it’s impossible to see clearly while wearing dark shades when it’s overcast. 

No offense to even the best sunglasses out there, but we have a better idea:

A solution for cloudy and sunny days? Stoggles Dimmers™. Stoggles Dimmers work by keeping your eyes safe from UV rays and giving you the perfect amount of shade when you need it. 

Based on transitional lens technology, Dimmers react to UV light by darkening when exposed to bright light and fading back to tint-free once the sun dips behind a cloud or you go indoors. It’s the easiest way to keep your eyes safe without donning dark lenses in the dark. 

The Stoggles Difference

With Stoggles, you get more than just UV protection. You get industry-leading safety features wrapped in a stylish package you can customize based on your own tastes.

Here’s what comes preloaded in every pair of Stoggles:

ANSI Z87.1-2020 Certification

To prevent shattering, it’s ANSI certification to the rescue. We blast every pair of Stoggles with weighted ball bearings fired at high speeds just for fun … and to ensure your eyewear can withstand the hazards you’re exposed to, like balls, bats, hammers, nail guns, rocks, and whatever else you consider a good time (or something you encounter at work).

Anti-Fog Coating

Fogging glasses are inconvenient and unsafe. Wiping the fog off with a napkin you found in the bottom of your handbag is also not a smart (or sanitary) option. Instead, we coat every pair of Stoggles with anti-fogging dip solution (aka magic fog-free juice) to make sure you don’t fog up in steamy situations, provided you’re wearing your Stoggles, of course. 

Side and Top Shields

Side and top shields are vital for protecting vulnerable areas of your eyes, like the spot near your eyebrows and across your temples. Regular eyeglasses leave these areas vulnerable, and top and side shields bridge the gap, providing coverage in these areas and keeping your eyes safe. 

Wraparound lenses give you similar protection, but if you need prescription lenses, these might not be the best option. Some brands haven’t yet perfected their wraparound lens, and when your prescription is applied, it can create a warped look in your peripheral vision. In fact, optometrist will often refuse to do them for you because the result is nothing close to wearable.

Another cool fun fact: The Stoggles side and top shields are made from polycarbonate — aka almost 360 degrees of sun protection. Laugh lines should come from laughter, not painful sun damage around the eyes. 

Comfort and Style

You aren’t going to use eyewear that isn’t comfortable, and that’s why Stoggles place comfort, trendy style, and safety equally at the top of our list. We offer ultra-lightweight frames in trendy shapes with numerous different color options. It’s easy to pick a pair (or two or three) to match your favorite swimsuit or your lawn work attire

Need corrective lenses? We do that too. Simply upload your prescription on our website, and we’ll do the rest. We do the heavy lifting, and you get a pair of sleek Stoggles in your personal vision correction prescription.

Skip the Sunglasses, Get the Stoggles

Unless you know for sure your sunglasses are giving you UV protection, you could be subjecting your eyes to UV damage without even knowing it. Don’t risk it. Trust Stoggles to take care of your eyes and keep you looking stellar in the sun. 


Sunglasses and Your Eyes | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Cataracts | National Eye Institute

Age related macular degeneration and sun exposure, iris color, and skin sensitivity to sunlight - PMC

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