April Showers Bring an Important Reminder About UV Protection


Me, sporting one of the six
pairs of sunglasses I rotated
through in Ireland.

NEW YORK—I recently returned from a week-long vacation to Ireland. When our flight landed in Dublin, I stood up and gathered my things, ready to disembark. I put on my jacket, wrapped up my scarf, and slid my sunglasses onto my face—only for the friendly Irishman seated behind me to laugh and say, “Ah, you won’t be needing those here! It’s always overcast.”

While my momentary airplane friend might’ve had a point about the Irish weather, he was wrong about one thing—as many of us know, our eyes benefit from UV protection all the time, not just on hot, sunny, summer days. Exposure to UV rays, even for a short period of time, can damage our eyes, and long-term exposure can lead to cataract, macular degeneration, growths on the eye, and eye and skin cancer. Those harmful UV rays don’t disappear just because the sun is hiding behind a cloud.

“It’s important to protect your eyes year-round, not just during the summer,” said Dianna Seldomridge, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as reported by the AAO. “Harmful UV rays are present even on cloudy days.”

My moment on the plane makes for a fun story, but is also a sobering reminder that not everyone outside the optical world knows just how important UV protection is. This is something The Vision Council is acutely aware of, and it’s why every year on June 27, The Vision Council celebrates National Sunglasses Day.

Carl Zeiss Vision builds awareness of the
importance of UV protection at Vision Expo
East 2019. Part of a major initiative to expand
awareness of the harmful nature of UV in all
conditions, this campaign involved partnering
with skin care company MDSolarSciences and
The American Cancer Society.
Through social media campaigns and free educational marketing materials for ECPs, The Vision Council uses June 27 to reinforce just how important UV protection is for our eyes. We know that UV damage is cumulative, and The Vision Council advocates that grabbing your sunglasses should be part of every single day’s “out the door” routine—no matter the weather. National Sunglasses Day is a fun holiday, a perfect time to post a shameless sunglass selfie on Instagram, but it’s also an important one. June 27 is a reminder of just how important it is to be vigilant about protecting our eyes. Even if you live in Ireland, where it’s overcast more often than not.

This year, Carl Zeiss Vision dedicated part of their time at Vision Expo East to building awareness about the importance of UV protection. As reported in CLICK, the company partnered with skin care company MDSolarSciences and the American Cancer Society to underscore just how vital UV protection is to our health.

Andrew Hyncik, vice president of marketing for Zeiss Vision Care, said, “Many Americans don’t realize that lenses often don’t protect up to the recommended 400nm threshold for UV, something that sun/skin care companies have been doing for many years, and Zeiss branded lenses now offer… With eyeglass technology now offering the same amount of UV protection commonly found in premium sunglasses, Zeiss is on a mission to ensure patients with prescription eyeglasses fully protect their eyes and eyelids from UV rays, all day, every day.”

So, as we settle into spring and look toward summer, it’s worth reminding ourselves and the people we love (and anyone who will listen) that UV protection is paramount. So, get geared up for National Sunglasses Day, and grab your sunglasses on the way out the door—even in those April showers.

Sunny days in Ireland.

And, as it turns out, it only rained once the entire week I was in Ireland. The rest of the time, it was almost blinding sun.