Light, Color, UV Radiation: Sunglasses Can Help

Feb 06, 2012 Olympic Eyewear


Have you ever wondered how we see objects in color? The process is actually pretty complicated but here’s the short version. There are two methods by which we are able to view objects in color.

Method One: An object directly emits light waves in the frequency of the observed color. An example of this is a neon light.

Method Two: An object absorbs all frequencies, then reflects back only the light wave, or combination of waves, that appears as the color you see. In order for your eye to see a yellow object, it must directly emit light waves in the yellow frequency or it must absorb the blue portion of the spectrum, then reflect the combined red and green colors back to your eye. Your eye will perceive the combination of red and green as yellow.

What a Difference Sunglasses Make
When talking about sunglasses, three kinds of light are meaningful.
1. Direct light - Direct light moves straight from the light source to your eyes. If you’ve ever tried staring into the sun, you know that too much direct sunlight will wash out the details of the surroundings. It then becomes difficult and almost painful to focus on an object.
2. Reflected light - Reflected light is light that has bounced off a reflective object entering your eyes in the form of glare. Like direct light, strong reflected light makes it tough to distinguish details. Some good light reflectors include white sand, water, snow, and glass.
3. Ambient light - Ambient light is light that has no definitive source. This type of light bounces and scatters in all directions. That amazing glow surrounding a cityscape is a good example of ambient light. It would be difficult to identify a single light source for the glow. Ambient light allows you to view objects when there is no direct source of light.

Sunglasses Really Do Make A Difference
Wearing a great pair of sunglasses in bulk not only makes you look cool, it can also eliminate the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. This cuts down on the amount of direct light that comes into your eye. UV sunglasses eliminate or decrease reflected light so that it’s comfortable to stare at an object such as snow.

Much research has been completed on the dangers of UV radiation. It can harm the skin, the eyelid, the cornea, and the lens. UV radiation is known to cause certain types of cataracts. For those professions where workers must spend a large amount of time outdoors, UV sunglasses are highly recommended. You only have one pair of eyes and it’s best to protect them in every way possible. Even cheap sunglasses are better than none at all.

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