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Like skin, your family's eyes can be damaged from too much sun exposure. UV radiation can cause cataracts, degeneration of the retina, melanoma of the eye, and blindness. Sun protective eyewear can reduce UV exposure to the eyes significantly. Sun protective eyewear includes sunglasses, ski goggles, eyeglasses and contact lens that block 99-100% UVA and UVB.

Choose the right sunglasses. To start, they don't have to be costly. Inexpensive sunglasses can provide excellent protection from UV rays. The percentage of the ultraviolet rays filtered out by sunglasses is usually printed on the label. Choose close-fitting, wrap-around styles with large lenses to prevent UV rays from entering through the sides and top of the frames. Darker lenses are not necessarily more protective. While there is no universal labeling of sunglasses in the U.S., look for those that provide 100% UV protection. People who wear prescription glasses can have also an ultraviolet coating added to their lenses.

For more information about choosing sunglasses, visit the Sunglasses FAQs.

Tips to promote sunglasses:

Want to buy 100% UV sunglasses? Check at nearly any store, from supermarkets and drug stores to department stores.

For more information about choosing sunglasses, visit the Sunglasses FAQs.

Have more questions about sunglasses? Check out Skin Cancer 101 - Sunglasses.


Fast Facts

Unlike skin, light-colored eyes do not necessarily have a higher risk for UV damage. Australian researchers found that people with brown eyes are 80% more likely to develop cataracts from UV exposure than people with blue eyes.

Cumming RG, Mitchell P, Lim R. Am J Ophthalmol. 2000 Aug;130(2):237-8.

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