Blinded By The Light: How to protect your eyes from UVA/UVB

Blinded by the Light may be a recognizable rock song recorded by Bruce Springsteen in 1973, but eye degeneration caused by UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun is something to take seriously.

Sunlight that reaches us on the earth’s surface through the ozone layer is made up of two types of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and shortwave ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. UVB rays will typically burn the top layers of your skin, yet both UVA/UVA are harmful to your eyes (retinal damage, including cataracts, and even wrinkles in the tender and thin skin around your eyes).

Yet we also know that some sunlight during the day is required for a healthy circadian rhythm. We suggest aiming to get 2-3 hours of sunlight in the morning hours when the sun’s rays aren’t quite as intense. If that still feels bright, or you don’t want the sun directly on your face, you can wear a hat while still getting the full benefit for your eyes.  After you have your daily dose of sunshine, you’ll want to avoid “too much of a good thing”. Start sporting some shades when you go outside.

Most sunglasses, whether they are a high-end online brand or a cost-effective pair at the corner store, will block out 99% or more of the UVA/UVB light spectrum. They tend to be a dark shade of brown or gray and polarized. Polarized, or anti-glare, glasses use a laminated filter that permits only vertical light rays to pass through and blocks nearly all horizontal rays to eliminate glare.  This is most noticeable when boating or fishing as you will be able to see through the surface when typically, you would just see the sun and sky reflected in the water’s surface.  Polarized lenses are best suited to reducing glare from water surfaces. Polarized lenses are permanently tinted dark and don’t change color.

The other type of sunglasses lens that is not readily available right off the shelf is a photochromic/transition lens. As opposed to polarized lenses, which can only be used outside due to their permanent dark tint, photochromic eyeglass lenses are clear when indoors. They then and darken automatically when exposed to UV irradiated sunlight. (Note: Photochromic lenses typically will not darken inside a vehicle as windshield glass blocks most UV rays.) Generally, transition lenses are used with a prescription for indoor use, transforming to sunglasses for outdoor use.

Here at TrueDark, our customers wear glasses indoors to stop junk light during the day. And they go outside during the day. So we created an all-in-one solution for daytime eye protection. Introducing

TrueDark  Daywalker Transition Sunglasses that block  99% of both UVA and UVB light when you’re outside AND block 40% of blue light when you’re surrounded by junk light inside. Finally, daytime blue light blocking eyewear that can multitask (and now you can go outside and work)!

In addition to the clear blue blocking and UVA/UVB protection, these new TrueDark’s also have anti-reflective lenses. This is a great technology for sunglasses because it eliminates glare from a light source/sunlight reflecting into your eyes from the back surface of tinted/colored lenses when the sun is behind you.  AR coating reduces glare and “ghosting” images due to reflections at the lens surfaces. AR coating works both indoors and outdoors and can be found in conjunction with photochromic lenses on the TrueDark Daywalker Transition Sunglasses.

Summary

Sunglasses come in many shapes in sizes since they are accessories often used to exude style. But note that when it comes to eye health, functionality means so much more than style alone. Above all else, their main job is to help you protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. Some of the sun’s effects on the eyes include:

Cataracts – the clouding of the eye’s lens, resulting in blocked light and blurred vision. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to UV light can increase the risk of having cataracts.

Macular degeneration – an eye disease in which the macula in the retina of your eye becomes damaged. The retina is nerve tissue found in the back of the eye that is responsible for sensing light. When it gets damaged, the result is vision loss.  Macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States.

Pterygium (or Surfer’s Eye) –  a tissue growth that occurs over the white part of the eye, which can disrupt the cornea and cause astigmatism.

When purchasing sunglasses, be sure to look for ones that block out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation so that you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy.  A wide-brimmed hat offers great protection, too!

Junk Light, Disrupted Sleep, and Your Health

Exposure melatonin disrupting junk light can have have effects on many aspects of your health

Sleep cycle disruption

Junk light exposure when traveling can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Long-term exposure to light at night which accompanies shift work is listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Light at night has shown to be highly associated with significantly the risk of hormone specific such as cancers of the breast and prostate.

Headaches/Vision

The flickering wavelength of light associated with LEDs and compact fluorescent lights emit blue light that inhibits melatonin production but also create a unique glare that impacts your retina causing eye strain, headaches, and physical and mental fatigue.

Weight Gain

Red light and darkness move leptin and ghrelin into patterns that are (context dependent) associated with less hunger, while blue light does the opposite and can move both into patterns associated with more hunger.

Anxiety/Depression & Depression

Increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, due to circadian disruption. Memory recall is impaired with consistent sleep deprivation and may leave you distracted and not performing your absolute best.

The Importance of Melanopsin Cells

The Key to Better Sleep

detects blue light

The melanopsin cells detect blue light it tells your brain that it is “daytime” and less melatonin is produced.

sending signals to your brain

The signals to your brain to alert brightness and for the brain to increase or suppress the sleep hormone, melatonin.

Light Source

Melanopsin cells can’t differentiate the blue light that occurs naturally form the sun from the junk light emitted from your computer monitor.

Start Optimizing Your Life

Harness Your Biology to Fight Junk Light

Your body requires some blue light at the right time of day and from the right sources. That’s why we created TrueDark® Sleep Technology that gives you 24-protection from junk light day and night.

Use TrueDark® Twilights When You’re Ready for Sleep

Stop Junk Light with patented TrueDark® Twilight technology that frees your hormones and neurotransmitters to do their best work.

When the sun goes down, blue light isn’t the only junk light that can disrupt our sleep cycle and more than blue blockers are needed. Patented TrueDark® Twilight is the first and only solution that is designed to work with melanopsin, a protein in your eyes responsible for absorbing light and sending sleep/wake signals to your brain. Without melanopsin, melatonin can’t be accessed.

When you wear your Twilights for as little as 30 min before bed you prevent your melanopsin from detecting the wrong wavelengths of light at the wrong time of day. This supports  your circadian rhythm and helps you fall asleep faster and get more restorative and restful sleep.

glasses to help with computer eye strain computer glasses

TrueDark® Daywalkers for Your Waking Hours

The highly advanced lenses in TrueDark® Daywalkers operate on a more advanced level than traditional blue blockers.

Blue light emitted from the sun helps regulate our sleep/wake cycle. However, in today’s world, we’re exposed to an overabundance of blue light, or junk light from artificial light. This includes hours spent in front of  TVs, phones, and computers. It also includes time spent in artificial man made light with LEDs and fluorescent lights. Even if we’re simply reading a book, we’re doing that in artificial light which emit dramatically more blue light than the sun. That overexposure to junk light during the day has a dramatic impact on our neurotransmitters and hormones that are responsible for quality sleep.

The Only 24-hour Solution for Your Eyes

Increase Your Mental and Physical Performance