Many of us realize the damaging effects that UV rays can have on our bodies and skin, but do we know just how damaging UV rays can be to our eyes? Yes, that is right – there are many damaging effects on our eyes that happen because of UV rays! Our eyes must be protected from UV rays just like our skin and one way to do that is by wearing properly fitting, UV protected, and polarized sunglasses. May is officially UV Awareness Month, prevention is the key to protecting your eyes from these dangerous rays.

Types of UV

There are three types of UV rays but only UVA and UVB rays can pass through the Earth’s atmosphere. UVA rays make up nearly 95% of the UV radiation and while these rays may be less intense than UVB rays, they are 30-50 times more likely to create long term damages. UVB rays on the other hand are more likely to occur on cloudy days and can be easily reflected from different matters such as water, ice, snow, and even concrete. Unfortunately, reflected UV rays are just as dangerous and can cause serious damage to you.

Effects of UV Rays on Eyes

UV rays can have both long term and short term effects on eyes. UV rays pass through cornea of the eye to reach the iris and eventually damages the retina. These damaging effects on eyes range from vision loss, vision distortion, blindness, cancer, and more!

Short-Term: Some short-term effects include swollen eyes, sensitivity to light, blood shot eyes, and even photokeratitis (commonly known as snow-blindness). Photokeratitis can cause temporary vision loss between 24-48 hours.

Long-Term: There are many long-term effects on eyes from UV rays. Some of these effects include cancer of the eye (and surrounding skin), cataracts, macular degeneration (which causes the permanent loss of vision).

Who Should Wear Sunglasses?

Our eyes are exposed to UV Rays 365 days a year! That’s right not just on sunny days- but every day. According to the Consumer Health Digest 40% of UV exposure occurs when we are not even in direct sunlight, so sunglasses are important even on those cloudy days. Not only should adults wear sunglasses that fit properly, polarized, and are UV protected but so should children. Children are just as susceptible to dangerous UV rays and because of their constant activities outdoors such as sports, playing, among other things – it is just as important to not only put sunblock on their skin – but give them sunglasses.

UV rays can have damaging effects on eyes for both children and adults. The effects on eyes can be short-term and long-term, but either way the eyes need protection from UVA and UVB rays. Vision Source Specialists offer a variety of sunglasses to not only fit your style or activity – but that can offer top of the line protection from UV rays. Some of our brands include but are not limited to Ray Ban, Maui Jim, Wiley X, Oakley, Kate Spade, and more. For more information on protecting your eyes from UV rays, ways to be knowledgeable during May- UV Awareness Month, or to find your perfect pair of sunglasses contact us today.


  • • Our Focus is Comprehensive Eye Care
  • • Personalized Patient Care
  • • Insurance Paperwork Processed
  • • Latest Eye-Examination Equipment
  • • Friendly, Knowledgeable Office Staff

From infants to great grandparents, the doctors and staff at Vision Source Specialists provides quality eye care that promotes a lifetime of healthy eyes through prevention by focusing on education and specialty care throughout the Black Hills. For more information on how to keep your eyes healthy contact one of our offices to schedule your appointment today with Dr. Jared Pearson, Dr. Dawn Wattenhofer at Vision Source Specialists, the premier leader in Black Hills eye care.


Rapid City Office

318 Mt Rushmore Rd. Suite A
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 399-3937
Business Hours
Monday – Friday: 9:00AM – 5:00PM

Font Resize
Text Us Rapid City Office Philip Office