Managing light to your eyes' advantage
Light comes from all sides these days — from the sun directly, reflected off surfaces or from digital devices. While it can make us feel happy in moderation, extended exposure can open us up to the effects of UV rays or digital eye strain. That's why it's important to understand light and how to manage it.
Different light sources, different effects
How does light from the sun behave differently than light from your digital screen? And what does that mean for your eyes? Think of this section as a little exercise in light reconnaissance. You need to know what you're dealing with if you want to manage it effectively.
The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays come in 2 forms of energy: UV-A and UV-B. UV-A exposure affects the retina, the light-sensitive layer behind the eye that forms images in the brain. UV-B is absorbed by the cornea and lens at front of the eyes. These rays can cause eye strain, macular degeneration (vision loss), cataracts or corneal sunburn.1
60% of us spend 6+ hours in front of computer monitors, phones, tablets and flat screens. All this exposure can put strain on our eyes and may be linked to blurred vision, dry eye and headaches.2 Further, screens emanate high energy blue light. It's part of the natural light spectrum, but could contribute to retinal damage when viewed in close proximity for long periods of time.3
The light from fluorescent and LED bulbs as well as flat-screen televisions passes through the cornea and lens in front of the eyes and then reaches the retina, the light-reacting layer behind the eye that forms images. The intensity of this light can cause eye irritation and headaches.4
How are you managing light?
Take a quick inventory of the light you're exposed to and how it makes you feel. You might be surprised.
It seems you're not very light sensitive, but you should manage your exposure.
Good for you! Light does not cause you much discomfort, but you should still take preventive measures to protect your eyes. The potential damage from the sun's rays and other sources still exists. Ask your eye doctor about what options may be right for you.
Product tips from the pros
There are several lenses and lens options on the market to help you manage light. Here are a few recommendations from Target Optical®.
Sunglasses with 100% UV protection will shield your eyes from the sun's potentially harmful rays. For longer wear and protection, ask about scratch-, glare- and smudge-resistant lenses.
Perfect for those with a prescription who move in and out of sunlight frequently, these lenses include technology that adjusts to the surrounding light. Think: Transitions® lenses.
Digital/Device- Responsive Lenses
Lenses with blue light-filtering technology or wider viewing areas could help shield your eyes from eye strain, dry eye and other potential effects of extended digital device use.
This lens treatment covers the front and back of the lenses to eliminate reflections and block glare. Other treatment options include UV protection, scratch resistance and smudge resistance.
Uv Protection on Clear Lenses
Yes, clear lenses can still provide complete UV protection from the sun's rays. Be sure to choose lenses with a rating of at least UV400; this means they'll block 99.9% of UV rays.
Ask your eye doctor
Even if light doesn't bother your eyes, it's a good idea to talk with your eye doctor during your annual exam about managing exposure to different types of light. Your doctor can recommend lens options to protect your eyes and vision based on your lifestyle and work. Here are some questions to start the conversation.
What are the symptoms of too much light exposure?
Unmanaged, adverse reactions to light are usually the result of other conditions, including migraine headaches, eye inflammation or disease, medications, eye surgery, aging or allergies. Also, pale-colored eyes are naturally more sensitive to light.6Find an eye doctor
How much protection do my eyes need from the sun?
Even if the sun doesn't bother your eyes, its UV rays still pass through them to the retinas, the layers behind the eyes that form images in the brain. Long-term exposure could lead to vision loss, while in the short-term sunlight can cause an actual eye sunburn. Lenses with UV-protection are recommended in the sun.Find an eye doctor
I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and indoors. What does this mean for my eyes?
Computer screens and other digital devices, as well as fluorescent lights, can impact your eyes. Managing the light intensity, or wearing device-responsive lenses, could reduce the risk of eye irritation and dry eye.Find an eye doctor
Switching between prescription glasses and sunglasses isn’t always feasible. What options do I have?
Photochromic lenses, like Transitions®, are akin to artificial intelligence for the eyes. The lenses are equipped with light-sensitive photochromic dyes that immediately start to darken when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Once out of the sun, the lenses fade back to clear.7 Ask your eye doctor if Transitions® lenses may be right for you.Find an eye doctor