How To Protect Your Eyes From Sun Damage

Posted by Bridget Reed on

Summertime living is easy … unless you’re in a dangerous situation that could harm your eyes. Sure, sitting by the pool seems harmless, especially if you’re wearing a nice, thick layer of sunscreen, but for your eyes, there’s danger afoot. 

The eyes, unlike many other vital organs in our bodies, aren’t as well protected. There’s no thick casing of bone or layer after layer of skin suit to keep your eyes from being exposed. Together, we’ll talk about how important (and fragile) your vision truly is and what you can do to keep your eyes safe this summer.

As always, we’ll give you our Stoggles exclusive perspective on how safety eyewear is beneficial in any summer scenario.

How Your Eyes Operate

Call it miraculous, call it unique, just don’t call it easy or replaceable. Your ability to see is important (for driving, picking your favorite color, etc.). Your eyes collect light and funnel it through a highly complex camera-like lens that directs light to the back of the eye structure. 

This structure, the retina, is where the real party starts. The retina takes the light collected through the pupil, iris, and lens and changes it into electrical signals that your brain can read. It then sends those signals via the optic nerve to the brain. The brain then tells you what you see. 

Is Vision Loss Common?

For the amazing abilities the eyes have, the one thing they can’t do is regenerate. The retinal cells that focus light and change it to electrical signals are limited. When you lose them, you lose part of your vision. Unless you are Wolverine or another healing/regenerative superhero, you’re playing for keeps. 

You might think it’s impossible to lose these cells, but there are plenty of everyday enemies that are out to get them and rob you of your ability to see. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 million people over the age of 40 have some degree of vision impairment. 

Common Causes of Vision Loss

If vision is this delicate, what are the threats and reasons why vision is lost? While uncorrected refractive issues and cataracts top the list of causes of vision loss worldwide, injuries and trauma to the eye are a close second. 

About 2.4 million people experience eye injuries each year in the U.S. alone. These aren’t just injuries incurred by individuals working on a construction site or down in a mine either. These are injuries sustained by people doing yard work at home, tackling a home improvement project, or even playing a game of ball with their kids. 

Some of the most common causes of vision loss and eye-related injuries are:

  • Power tools and equipment
  • Strikes, scrapes, and hits to the eye
  • Splashes, spills, and splatters with chemicals or bodily fluids
  • Contact with allergens or other irritants
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Age-related macular degeneration

In the summer, taking care of your eyes takes on a new meaning. New allergens, lots of sunshine, and outdoor activities can be unintended sources of eye damage, but if you’re smart with your eye safety, you can avoid the hassle (and trauma and expense) of a visit to the emergency room. 

Summer Eye Safety: What Are the Threats?

You can’t fight the battle until you know your enemy. In the summer, your eyes are under attack from the sun, but also from your own recreational activities.

Let’s take a look at the dangers lurking around the park or beach:

The Sun

Ultraviolet radiation is damaging to your eyes. In fact, UV rays can cause your eyes to age prematurely, just like the sun causes your skin to wrinkle sooner than it would otherwise. That means protecting your eyes from UV exposure is a vital part of your eye health. There’s more than just one type of damaging ray, too. Both UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the cornea and reach the retina. 

The macula, a structure in the retina, is responsible for detailed vision. However, it can lose its function from overexposure to UV rays. Damage to the retina can result in eye diseases like early-onset macular degeneration or even cataracts. And yes, you can have cataracts earlier in life if you decide to forgo protective eyewear. UV damage happens faster than you think and is cumulative over time.

Even before that happens, bypassing wearing sunglasses or protective eyeglasses can mean developing really uncomfortable conditions, like:

  • Keratitis. Also known as snow blindness, this condition happens when light reflected off of a surface like sand or snow enters your eye. Symptoms include temporary blindness, blurry vision, itching, watering eyes, and extreme discomfort. This is also sometimes referred to as photokeratitis. 
  • Surfer’s Eye (aka pterygium). This eye condition is a direct result of sun exposure. The main symptom is a small, red bump on the conjunctiva or the whites of the eye. It can be removed with surgery, but otherwise, it’s living rent-free on your eyeball til death do you part. 

Not to mention, the sun can literally burn the cornea of your eye, resulting in a corneal abrasion. This can make it feel like you have sand or grit in your eyes and can also cause swelling, itching, and watering. 

The Wind

What feels better on a blistering hot day than a cool breeze? Air conditioning. If you can’t get indoors, however, make sure your eyes are protected from the wind.

The wind can carry dust particles, allergens, and other irritants that can enter your eyes and cause damage. If you’re on a bicycle, the wind and speed can make small particles as dangerous as bullets.

Sure, you might not lose your vision sitting in the park on a windy day, but you could end up with an eye infection that can put a halt to your summer plans faster than a canceled flight. 

Your Own Athletic Dominance

Summer usually means pick-up basketball games and seasonal sporting leagues. There’s no better way to display your robust sporting capabilities than to show up at the soccer field on a Saturday with a couple of your best (and most competitive) buddies. 

Without insulting your extreme agility and precise rule-following, may we offer the following factual statistic: More than 40,000 eye-related injuries happen every year due to non-professional sports. You’d never make a careless mistake during adult slow-pitch softball that could affect your vision, but you can’t necessarily trust your opponent. 

Blue Light

If you’re more of an indoorsy kind of person, you aren’t off the hook when it comes to eye safety. There are just as many eye threats indoors as there are outside. One of the most prominent is blue light. 

Blue light is emitted by the sun but is also emitted by sources like our smartphones and tablets. The amount of exposure we have to blue light is what makes it so dangerous. Most of us are in front of some type of digital-light emitting screen for at least a few hours per day. 

Blue light, like ultraviolet light, has the ability to reach the retina. Experts aren’t sure what kind of damage that blue light can do to our eyes long-term, but they do know that it can cause eye strain and fatigue that may even lead to Computer Vision Syndrome. 

Summer Projects

This is the year you’re finally going to fix the fence, build a deck, or power wash the exterior of the house. You’ve got big plans and big tools, but if you get an eye injury, you’ve got another season of waiting before you can get them done. 

Power tools, lawn equipment, and the like should never be used without proper eye protection. The risk of damaging your eye with a flying rock, sawdust, or rogue nail is too great. Your vision is too precious to go without safety eyewear to ensure your project gets done with both eyes intact.

The good news is that you can care about lawn care and eye care at the same time as long as you take the proper precautions. 

7 Tips for Summer Eye Safety

Luckily, keeping your eyes safe during the summer is as easy as wearing safety eyewear that meets these seven safety features.

1. UV Protection

Your skin needs sunscreen, and your eyes need UV-blocking lenses. Stoggles eyewear is made from ultra-durable and lightweight polycarbonate material, which is naturally UV-blocking. That means you get all the protection you need without polarization or tinting. 

Bad pun incoming: Get your Vitamin D while also your Vitamin See. 

2. Shatter Resistance

We can’t stress this enough: your eyewear should always meet the ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification standards for shatter resistance. This means that your eyewear has passed tests to ensure they don’t break or shatter when struck with high-speed particles. 

Stoggles eyewear is all ANSI Z87.1-2020 certified to ensure that your eyes are safe while you’re playing your favorite sports or while you’re mowing the lawn. 

3. Blue Light Blocking

Unless you’re still communicating via pen, paper, and courier pigeon, we encourage you to use blue light-blocking glasses to further protect your vision. Unless you have an outdoor or seasonal job, you’re likely still behind the computer Monday through Friday, even though the kids are out of school. 

Protect your eyes from the intrusion of digital light with eyewear that prevents blue light from reaching them in the first place. Stoggles are infused with blue light-blocking technology, so you’re safe whether you’re at work or watching a sports highlight reel on your tablet at home. 

4. Wraparound Protection, But Make It Better

Safety eyewear should protect your eyes on all sides. Regular glasses leave a gap at the top near your eyebrow and on the sides near your temples. Wraparound styles of safety glasses seem like a good option, but they can warp your vision, especially if you’re wearing prescription lenses. 

Instead, top and side shields are a more streamlined, low-profile option that won’t give your funhouse mirror vision. It’s sort of like a wide-brimmed hat but for your eyes.

5. Anti-Fog

It’s hot and potentially humid where you live. Foggy safety glasses that constantly need removal for wiping won’t keep your eyes safe. Instead of bothering with anti-fog wipes, opt for eyewear created with anti-fog technology. 

All Stoggles have an anti-fog coating that changes the way water vapor collects on the surface of the glasses, making it impossible for them to fog. And we’re not talking about the spotty and shoddy spray coating; Stoggles specs are treated with tip treatment, ensuring even, long-lasting protection. 

6. Get Shade … When You Need It

The problem with many styles of sunglasses is that they offer too much tint and not enough protection. UV-blocking sunglasses are a good solution, but what about days that are partly cloudy? Taking your glasses on and off could put your eyes at risk of another hazard, not to mention it’s really inconvenient. 

Enter Stoggles Dimmers™. Dimmers have all the same great protective and stylish features as standard Stoggles, but with a cool superpower: They can shape-shift into sunglasses whenever you need them. 

UV reactive lenses work like transitional lenses you might have on your regular eyeglasses, darkening when exposed to bright sun rays and fading back to crystal clear when the sun dips behind a cloud. No more taking on and off, no more wearing too-dark glasses on too-cloudy days. Dimmers keep you shaded when your future suddenly gets really bright. 

7. Wear Corrective Lenses (and Still Stay Sun-Safe)

If you need corrective lenses, it can be a hassle to swap out your prescription eyeglasses with your prescription sunglasses all summer long. If you need safety eyewear (which we’ve already established you do), the challenge is even harder. Even if you wear contact lenses, you might find them more difficult to wear in the summer months when allergies can irritate your eyes and make contact lens wearing uncomfortable. 

Not to worry, Stoggles has you covered. If you need corrective vision lenses, simply upload your prescription to our website, and we’ll do the rest. We’ll customize a pair of uber stylish Stoggles with top-level sun protection to keep you safe, comfortable, and seeing clearly all summer long. 

Not sure if you need corrective lenses? Go get an eye exam! Your eye doctor can help you see clearly, and also make sure you aren’t at risk of developing any eye-related illnesses in the process. 

Summer Safety: The Eye Way

You can shop around, or you can just get Stoggles, eyewear that protects your eyes and looks as sleek as your favorite shades.

With Stoggles, you don’t have to choose between form and function; You can have it all and look good with it, too. 


How the Eyes Work | National Eye

Fast Facts of Common Eye Disorders |

Recognizing and Treating Eye Injuries | American Academy of Ophthalmology

Eye Injuries in Sports | American Academy of Family Physician

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