How To Protect Your Eyes From Sun Damage

How To Protect Your Eyes From Sun Damage

When we think of UV protection, we automatically think of sunglasses, but did you know that sunglasses aren’t the only types of eyewear that protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays? 

Prepare to have your mind blown as we discuss how the sun affects your eyes and why UV-protective lenses are an absolute must. Think that means you’ve got to wear polarized lenses (which really only protect you from glare) or find the best sunglasses on the planet to protect your eyes? Think again. You’ve got more options to protect against the sun’s rays. 

We’ll explain what the sun does to your eyes and what you can do to fight back. 

How Does the Sun Affect Your Eyes?

A day in the sun stimulates your cells to make vitamin D and keep you healthy, but we all know too much sun exposure is bad for us. However, we usually don’t think about the damage the sun does to our eyes.

And there’s not just one type of light ray that will damage your eyesight. Both UVA and UVB rays can harm your vision. UVC rays are also emitted by the sun, but thankfully the earth’s ozone layer does the job of absorbing those before they reach us. These wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation can pass through the cornea and reach the retina, damaging our vision (sometimes permanently). 

Sun exposure can burn your corneas and damage your vision, which is why it’s crucial to wear protective eyewear anytime you’re in sunlight. Pro tip: you also need to protect your eyes with UV-blocking eyewear on cloudy days, too.

Here’s what happens when the sun gets in your eyes:

Common Side Effects of UV Exposure

Are you crying, or have you just had too much sun exposure without UV protective safety glasses? Excessive tearing, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light are all symptoms of overexposure to the sun, and it’s detrimental to your eye health.

These symptoms might happen right after you’ve spent a day at the beach or become a problem that lasts much longer than your day in the sun. If you have a job that keeps you outdoors, for instance, and you don’t wear protective safety glasses, you may find that your vision declines or your eyes constantly water, even when you aren’t in the sun. 

How UV Light Can Damage Eyes: What To Know

Watery eyes are the least of your concerns if you expose your eyes to sunlight without protection. Over time, sun exposure is extremely damaging to your eyes. 


They aren’t just for the elderly. Cataracts are a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes foggy. Cataracts make it difficult for you to see, and if left untreated, they can cause blindness. 

Staying in the sun without UV protection can cause cataracts to form, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you can’t have them by the time you’re thirty. Practicing good eye care means protecting your eyes from harmful rays so you don’t ever have to think about cataracts.

Macular Degeneration

Another eye condition that can cost you your eyesight is macular degeneration. This condition affects a structure inside your retina called the macula. The macular is responsible for giving you clear, detailed, laser-focused vision. 

Some degeneration of the macular is natural as you age, but exposing your eyes to UV rays without protective lenses can damage the muscular, too, causing you to experience macular degeneration at a much earlier age. 

Surfer’s Eye

Medical name: pterygium. Street name: surfer’s eye. This eye condition happens from exposure to light that is reflected off another surface, like water or snow. If you spend a lot of time skiing, surfing, or otherwise on reflective surfaces, the protective film of your eye, called the conjunctiva, can become inflamed.

When inflammation occurs in the conjunctiva, it can grow toward the center of your eye, preventing you from seeing clearly. Symptoms of this condition are watery eyes, dry eyes, and feeling like there is sand in your eye. 

This also results in growths in the inner corner of the whites of the eyes, which, although not painful, could be considered unsightly. The worst part: they’re permanent.

UV Keratitis

Ever thought about getting a sunburn on your eyeballs? The cornea can burn just like your skin, but when your cornea burns, it is much more painful and irritating to your vision. “Snow blindness,” the condition you experience when you’ve been in bright sunlight and can’t see upon returning indoors, is a form of UV keratitis. 

You’re at a higher risk of developing this condition if you live in higher altitudes, have a job or favorite pastime that involves you being in direct sun or reflective sunlight, or if you work with welding equipment. 

Skin Cancer

The skin on your eyelids can burn from sun exposure, and they can also develop cancerous lesions on the outsides and insides of the lids. The skin on the eyelids is extremely thin and doesn’t have as many sebaceous glands as the skin on other parts of your body.

It’s much easier for you to burn your eyelids if you expose them to UV light without proper protection. 

It goes without saying, your vision is important.

Here’s what you can do to protect your eyes from UV radiation (with or without sunglasses:

UV Protection, but Make It for the Eyes

The best way to protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun is to stay indoors for the rest of your life. Not an option for you? We didn’t think so. 

Second choice? UV protection glasses. Think of them like sunscreen for your eyeballs. If you’re afraid you’re limited to dark, UV-protective sunglasses, think again. 

We’ve got your options. It starts by using some good, old-fashioned common sense. If there’s a chance you’ll have UV exposure, always wear protective lenses and a hat. Your choice of lenses matters, and it’s more than just a matter of style — though style is important, too… otherwise, you won’t end up wearing them 

What Are UV Protection Lenses?

UV protection lenses are lenses that are specifically designed to keep UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your eyes. These lenses are usually made by coating the lenses with a protective film that refracts the sun’s rays to keep your eyes protected.

Interestingly, the level of UV protection provided by your glasses has nothing to do with how dark your lenses may be. Let that sink in. 

The color of your sunglasses doesn’t give you added protection. In fact, the color of your lenses only determines what visible light will be blocked. Different colors of sunglasses help to reduce glare, give you better contrast, or help you see better when you’re on the water or on snow.

How UV Protective Safety Glasses Work

Safety glasses are made to protect your eyes from flying particles, splashes, spills, and heat. Whether you work in an industry that requires you to wear safety glasses or you participate in activities that could damage your eyes (like yard work or home improvement), safety glasses with UV protection are a serious win/win.

Here’s how they work:

All Around Protection

Safety glasses are designed to offer all-around protection. This means you’ll have protection on the sides of your eyes, where normal glasses usually have unprotected space, and above your eyes, where your lenses gap between your brow bone and the frame. 

UV Protection, With or Without Darkened Lenses

Safety glasses that are treated with UV protective coating offer protection without dark-colored lenses if that’s what you need. That means the same glasses you wear to work can protect your eyes when you’re in the sun.

When selecting UV protective lenses, look for UV 400 on the label, which means your glasses offer 100% UV protection. 

However, you’ll still be squinting if you don’t have darkened lenses. Lucky for you, Stoggles has you covered. 

What Are Transition Lenses?

Sometimes you need a little shade; sometimes, you don’t. Transition-style lenses make that possible in one convenient pair of sunglasses/eyeglasses. If you need safety eyewear, Stoggles can help. New Stoggles Dimmers™ have a specialized UV dye and coating that naturally adjusts depending on the amount of light you are exposed to. 

If it’s bright outside, your Stoggles Dimmers will naturally darken to the perfect amount of tinting. When the light recedes, they will naturally lighten back to their normal, crystal-clear polycarbonate lens appearance.

Can You Have Transition Prescription Lenses?

No worries — Stoggles does this, too, as our Stoggles Dimmers are available with prescription lenses. However, you can still get the protection from sun damage you need in a pair of stylish, uber-protective, regular Stoggles, too. Simply upload your prescription to our website, and we’ll fully customize a pair of Stoggles with polycarbonate lenses that are naturally UV protective (and incredibly safe) and ship them right to your door.

Not only will you get protection against UVA rays and UVB rays, but you’ll also get industry-leading protection against flying objects, splashes, spills, splatters, blue light, and even fog. It all comes wrapped up in a package, called our LucidLens™, so stylish that you’ll completely forget about corneal sunburns, keratitis, and any other kind of eye damage you (probably weren’t) thinking about already. 

Our LucidLens™ design is shatter-proof, lightweight, blue-light-blocking, and sealed under the world’s best fog protection. Our non-prescription lens is molded to ultra-precise specifications, ensuring superior clarity and quality. 

Do Wraparounds Work Well? 

Wraparound frames seem like a good idea, but if you need prescription lenses, they might not be the best option. A few brands offer these prescription lenses at a break the bank price, and it can cause a warped, funhouse mirror effect when trying to access your peripheral vision. If you’ve had that experience, try side and top shield instead. 

How Are Stoggles Different?

Stoggles are the safety eyewear that protects your eyes like serious safety glasses but look like your favorite, stylish specs. Our glasses offer:

  • Anti-fog coating
  • Blue-light blocking
  • ANSI Z87.1 certification 
  • Side and top shields
  • Impact resistance
  • UVA and UVB blocking 
  • Trend-worthy style

You get all the safety you’d expect from a pair of safety glasses, plus UV protection and enough style to carry you from work to play. 

Want protection with shaded lenses? Consider it done. Stoggles Dimmers™ have all the same great protective benefits as regular Stoggles, but with transition lenses to keep you from squinting when those pesky UV rays are out and about. 

Why spend money on prescription sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses? Stoggles give you the ability to combine two in one and give you the added benefit of leveled-up eye protection. It’s the winning combination you never knew you needed — not to mention added coatings like the anti-fog and blue light-blocking coats that further enhance your eyewear. Stoggles combines all these great features under a great and affordable price.

Future’s So Bright

UV protection is important for your eyes, and it’s more important than just picking out a pair of cool shades. Stoggles is your solution for protecting your eyes from UVA and UVB rays while keeping you in style and ensuring you’re comfortable while you work (or play).


How the Sun Can Damage Your Eyes | Keck

How to test if sunglasses are UV protected? | All About Vision

Eye Protection at Work: What Are Safety Glasses? | Saint Lukes

Tints for Sunglasses | Very Well Health

Share Article
View All Articles