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Periodic graphics: The chemistry of sunglasses

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning describes how your shades protect your eyeballs from the sun’s radiation

by Andy Brunning
May 9, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 19

09419-scitech2-sunglasses-700.jpg

To download a pdf of this article, visit http://cenm.ag/sunglasses.


To see more of Brunning’s work, go to http://compoundchem.com. To see all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics, visit http://cenm.ag/periodicgraphics.


This article has been translated into Spanish by Divulgame.org and can be found here.


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Comments
KAYIIRA JOSEPH (May 9, 2016 1:04 PM)
This is good. What could be the effect of putting on sunglasses in winter?
J. A. Beck (May 11, 2016 4:07 PM)
Years ago I put my sunglasses through a UV/Vis against air & they blocked everything. I wear them religiously whenever the sun's out, winter too. I'm almost 70, have 20/20 vision, no glaucoma, no cataracts. I credit that to wearing sunglasses since I was in my teens to protect my eyes.
Paul Krebaum (May 19, 2016 2:54 AM)
Kayiira,

Snow is an excellent reflector of UV light, so sunglasses help protect against snow blindness and cornea damage. Water is also a good reflector. On my first trip to Arizona as a kid I spent an afternoon under an aluminum awning, but next to the in-ground pool. I wound up with a mild sunburn just from the reflected UV.

P.K.

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