A woman wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day to protect her eyes

Who doesn’t love sunny days? Whether it’s relaxing on a boat or walking through the park, sunny days can bring plenty of fun memories – and sun damage. Sunglasses are often used to protect the eyes when the sun is out, but clouds have been seen as another way to keep UV rays away. Is this really the case, or is it just a false sense of security for your eyes?

What does the sun do to your eyes?

The sun produces ultraviolet light, a form of electromagnetic radiation that is positioned between x-rays and visible light on the EM spectrum. This form of radiation is best known for its use for tanning, but it can cause skin damage such as sunburn. It can also lead to significant eye damage if one is given constant exposure, ranging from cataracts to macular degeneration to complete blindness.

Do clouds block UV rays?

The common idea is that clouds can cover UV rays, but there’s more nuance than that. While clouds do block some UVA and UVB radiation, they are more successful at blocking visible light, which means there is still the potential for sun damage. In addition, clouds can actually reflect UV rays into multiple directions, meaning that you can get exposure even when sitting in shade. This is especially true if you are in areas of higher altitude. Your eyes, as a result, can still face some of the same side-effects as if it was a sunny day.

How can you protect your eyes during a cloudy day?

Even with a cloudy overcast, sun damage to the eyes is possible. There are still some preventative measures that you can take to prevent this. Looking at the sky might be tempting when clouds are blocking the sun, but this is ill-advised based on UV reflection.

Dr. Rachel Sabo, a CEENTA ophthalmologist from our Statesville office, has wise advice for taking care of your eyes outside. “It is a good idea to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day just as you would on a sunny day. This is especially true if you will be enjoying an activity near a highly reflective surface, such as a day on Lake Norman or snow skiing.” Wrap-around sunglasses are even better for protecting your peripheral vision. You can also take note of the UV index for the day whenever you check the weather and plan accordingly.

For sunny days, rainy days, and every day in between, your eye health is important to living comfortably. At CEENTA, we can evaluate your eyes to see if there is any sun damage and determine treatment options that are best for you. Schedule your next eye appointment with Dr. Sabo at our Statesville office today to keep your vision shining.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our eye doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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