Sunglasses should be worn anytime you’re outdoors, year round.  That’s because UV damage to the eyes is cumulative over a lifetime, and sun exposure can result in permanent damage to your eyes.


There are three types of UV radiation:

  • UVA - wavelengths of 315 – 399 nm, not absorbed by the ozone layer

  • UVB - wavelengths of 280 – 314 nm, mostly absorbed by the ozone layer

  • UVC - wavelengths of 100 – 279 nm, completely absorbed the by ozone layer 


Quality sunglass lenses protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.  This is also true for quality prescription sunglass lenses.  Quality sunglasses provide UV protection, better visibility driving, glare reduction, less squinting and eyestrain, protection from the wind, and overall clearer vision outdoors.


UV exposure can vary day to day, depending on a number of factors:

  • Time of day – 10am to 4pm has the highest exposure to UV.  The highest concentration of UV exposure is around noon – when the sun is highest in the sky.  At this time, the sun’s UV rays have the shortest distance to travel and UVB levels are at their highest.

  • Time of year – UV concentration levels tend to be highest in the summer because the sun’s angle varies with the seasons.

  • Latitude – The sun’s UV intensity is highest at the equator, because the sun is the most directly overhead and the distance to the earth’s surface is the shortest.

  • Altitude – UV intensity increases with altitude because there is less atmosphere to absorb UV radiation.  Therefore, damage to eyes and skin increases at higher altitudes.

  • Weather Conditions – Cloud cover filters some of the sun's rays, however a significant portion of UV radiation passes through cloud cover. This means that even on overcast days it is important to wear sunglasses. The unique vision conditions of a cloudy day makes the choice of lens color especially important.

  • Reflection – Snow, sand, asphalt pavement, and water reflect UV radiation.  It is because of this reflection that UV radiation can reach high levels even in nearby shaded areas.


Before you purchase your next pair of sunglass lenses, be sure to stop by Artisan Optics.  We’ll help you choose the sunglass lenses that are perfect for your outdoor activities.  Sunglass lenses guard against UV damage, enhance depth perception, reduce eye fatigue, and improve visual performance.