Visit our 2 convenient locations!

5900 Heckert Rd.
P.O. Box 324
Bakerstown, PA 15007
724-443-6767 Phone
724-443-6730 Fax

4001 Freeport Rd.
Natrona Heights, PA 15065
724-226-0444 Phone
724-226-0744 Fax


Are Your Sunglasses Protecting Your Eyes from UV Rays?

As the days get sunnier and warmer, many of us reach for our favorite sunglasses, not just as a fashion statement but as a way to protect our eyes. While sunglasses can be stylish, their primary role is far more significant: shielding your eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. At Bissell Eye Care we’re committed to educating our patients about eye health and want to share how to choose the right pair of sunglasses for optimal protection.

Why UV Protection is important.

The sun emits UV radiation, which is categorized into three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While the Earth’s atmosphere blocks most UVC rays, UVA and UVB can reach us and pose risks to our health. Prolonged exposure to these rays can cause various eye problems, such as:

  • Cataracts: UV exposure can accelerate the development of cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that can lead to vision impairment.
  • Macular Degeneration: UV rays can damage the retina, particularly the macula, leading to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of vision loss in older adults.
  • Photokeratitis: This is essentially a sunburn of the eye, which can cause pain, redness, and temporary vision loss.
  • Pterygium: A growth on the white part of the eye that can extend to the cornea and affect vision.
  • Skin Cancer: The delicate skin around the eyes is also susceptible to UV-induced skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma.

How to Choose the Right Sunglasses

When selecting sunglasses, it’s important to consider both style and functionality. Look for UV protection labels to ensure that the sunglasses offer 100% UV protection. This might be labeled as “UV400,” meaning they block all UVA and UVB rays. Be wary of fashion sunglasses that may not provide adequate protection.

Choose the Right Lens Color:

  • Gray: Reduces overall brightness without distorting colors, suitable for most activities.
  • Brown/Amber: Enhances contrast and depth perception, ideal for driving and outdoor sports.
  • Green: Reduces glare and enhances contrast, maintaining natural color balance.
  • Yellow/Gold: Improves visibility in low-light conditions but can alter color perception.

Larger frames provide more coverage and better protection from peripheral UV rays. Wraparound styles are excellent for blocking light from the sides.

Polarized lenses reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water and pavement, enhancing comfort and visibility, especially during activities like driving or fishing. A mirror coating reflects more light and is beneficial in extremely bright conditions. Anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings: prolong the life of your sunglasses and improve visual comfort.

Special Considerations for Different Activities

  • For Outdoor Sports: Opt for polycarbonate lenses and wraparound frames for durability and protection.
  • For Driving: Polarized lenses can significantly reduce glare from the road and other vehicles.
  • For Everyday Use: A versatile pair with 100% UV protection and a comfortable fit is ideal for daily wear.

Whether you’re selecting sunglasses for daily use, sports, or prescription lenses, the professionals at Bissell Eye Care can help you choose the best option for your eye health and lifestyle. For questions regarding your eye health, call one of our offices at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444 Let’s keep your eyes healthy and happy all year round!

About Bissell Eye Care: John D. Bissell, OD owns and operates Bissell Eye Care servicing Northern Pittsburgh and Alle-Kiski Valley regions. With two locations to treat patients, we offer evening appointments. Bissell Eye Care provides comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family beginning as early as 6 months, ocular disease detection and treatment, eyeglasses, sunglasses, activewear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. We accept most types of vision and health insurance plans. For more information, visit or call our Bakerstown Office at 724-443-6767 or Natrona Heights office at 724-226-0444.