Which Lenses are Best for UV Protection?

Most people are aware of the importance of protecting their eyes from strong UV rays, especially here in sunny Florida, but aren’t always sure what sort of UV protection they need. There are a lot of different lenses available, but the doctors at Florida Eye are ready to help both those who need prescription lenses and anyone who wants UV protection.

UV light comes from the sun and is invisible. There are different types of UV radiation:

  • UVA and UVB are dangerous to your eyes as well as a cause of skin cancer, sunburn and premature aging. Some of the damage caused is only short-term, but UVA and UVB can also cause permanent damage.
  • UVC isn’t a problem because it disappears in the ozone layer before reaching earth.
  • Blue light (HEV) comes from the sun, computers and many other electronic devices. This is also a high energy light that can damage the eyes.

Which lenses are best for UV protection? The best lenses protect your eyes from UVA, UVB and HEV.

Tampa Bay’s UV Index

Local weather reports often mention the UV Index. Florida typically ranks as High (6-7) or Very High (8-10). Occasionally, you might even see Extreme (11 or higher). When the UV radiation from sunlight is this intense, Florida Eye strongly recommends sunglasses with powerful UV protection and minimum SPF 30+ sunscreen to protect your skin.

Types of Lenses

Most lenses today aren’t made from glass, but from high-tech plastics that are specifically designed to meet certain requirements and don’t break as easily. Modern lenses are more scratch-resistant and weigh less than older types.

Some of the terms you might see used for lenses include:

  • Polarized: Glare is reduced, making these lenses extremely useful for many outdoor activities, including driving
  • Polycarbonate: A very strong plastic (used for bullet-proof glass) that’s great when impact-resistant lenses are needed, such as for kids’ glasses, sports or hard work
  • Trivex: Similar to polycarbonate in impact-resistance and better for correcting vision
  • High-Index Plastic: A light, thin plastic great for those with strong prescriptions
  • Aspheric: Refers to thin, flat curved lenses
  • Photochromic: These lenses are very popular since they are clear indoors and darken when you go into the sunlight
  • Bifocals: The lens is split in half, with the upper half used for seeing clearly at long distances while the lower half is used for reading and other near vision activities
  • Trifocals: The lens has three sections, distance, arm-length vision (computer) and near vision

Coatings for lenses include:

  • Anti-Reflective: Helps prevent glare and halos, which can be troubling in night driving
  • Scratch-Resistant: Keeps lenses scratch-free longer
  • UV Protection: Necessary for eye protection
  • Tinted: Different tints can make a big difference – try several and see for yourself
  • Mirror Coatings: These are popular, but have no purpose except looks and hiding your eyes from view

Get the UV protection your eyes need and the stylish look you want at Florida Eye. Talk about the options that would be best for you with your eye doctor. The best sunglasses are custom-designed for your unique eyes and style, not one-size-fits-all. Schedule an appointment today with Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute. We always want you to look and see your best.