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Macular Degeneration Risk Reduced by Sunglasses Limiting HEV Rays

As the weather gets warmer people spend more time outside, but risk increased exposure to the sun’s rays.

If you are living with Low Vision, sunglasses are a simple option to protect your vision and improve comfort while in the sun. They shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and can limit the amount of high-energy visible radiation (HEV) that reaches your eyes.

HEV light, or blue light, is made up of the high energy and short-wavelength rays within the visible light spectrum. Approximately one-third of all visible light is considered blue light. Extended exposure to HEV light can cause eye damage and increase the long-term risk of developing Macular Degeneration and other eye conditions.

The majority of blue light is from the sun and can be blocked by wearing sunglasses. Almost all blue light is able to pass through the cornea and lens to reach the retina (inner lining of the back of the eye), while less than 1% of UV rays can. This makes exposure to blue light harmful to unprotected eyes and increases the potential for permanent vision.

Sunglasses that offer the best HEV light protection have bronze, copper or reddish-brown lenses. These colors block out the short wavelengths of blue light and direct light away from the most sensitive parts of the eye. Large sunglasses that wrap around your face limit your exposure to HEV light and UV rays, and can prevent further symptoms of vision loss.

To find an International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS) trained optometrist in your area call 1-888-778-2030.

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