Why wear sunglasses on a cloudy day or in the winter? Most people wear sunglasses as a way to block the summer sun from their eyes or as a fashion accessory, but the benefits of wearing sunglasses go far beyond comfort and fashion. In the same way that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damage your skin, they can have a detrimental effect on your eyes. We’ll discuss the reasons to wear sunglasses, when to wear sunglasses and the eye conditions caused by or aggravated by overexposure to the sun. How do sunglasses work to protect your eyes? We’ll talk about that, too. Read on!
Why You Should Wear Sunglasses
The sun’s UV rays can have a devastating effect, so it’s critical to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses even when the sun is hidden behind cloud cover. What can the sun do to your eyes? Ultraviolet rays can cause eye problems or exacerbate an existing condition. Read on to see our top three reasons to wear sunglasses all year long so you can keep the sun from wreaking havoc on your eyes.
Protect Your Eyes from Serious Eye Conditions
Preventing conditions that result in sun-damaged eyes is the most important reason why you should wear sunglasses. You may be surprised by the number of eye problems that can occur from sun exposure, including:
- Macular Degeneration: Of all the reasons to wear sunglasses, this may be the most compelling. Macular degeneration is caused by damage to the retina that impacts central vision and causes blindness. One of the contributing causes of this disease is excessive UV exposure. When the eye is overexposed to UV rays, deposits build up on the macula, which is part of the retina. According to the Macular Society, wearing sunglasses for macular degeneration avoidance may reduce your risk of suffering from this condition.
- Cataracts: A clouding of the eye’s lens that can cause blurred vision, cataracts can be caused by extended exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays — an estimated 20% of cases, in fact, as cited by the World Health Organization.
- Pterygium: The risk from pterygium is that it causes astigmatism. Pterygium is a tissue growth over part of the eye surface that can change the curve of the eyeball. Pterygium is a result of excessive sun exposure, causing vision problems that may require surgery. What can you do? Sunglasses prevent UV rays from reaching your eyes and causing pterygium.
- Photokeratitis: According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness, affects a thin layer of the cornea and the conjunctiva (the cell layer that covers the insides of the eyelids and the whites of the eye). It’s like having a sunburned eye. Since you can’t apply sunscreen to your eyes, wearing polarized sunglasses that repel harmful UV rays is essential to prevent photokeratitis.
Reduce the Glare – Sunglasses for Glaucoma
While exposure to the sun doesn’t cause glaucoma, UV rays can create glare. If you have glaucoma, your eyes are already sensitive to sunlight. Wearing sunglasses for glaucoma or sunglasses with polarized lenses helps to prevent this glare from irritating your eyes.
Protect the Delicate Skin Around Your Eyes
Of all the reasons to wear sunglasses, this may not seem very important, but melanoma is not a matter to be taken lightly. Wearing large-rimmed sunglasses can shield the skin around your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. It can be difficult to apply sunscreen to this area without getting it in your eyes, so sunglasses can help protect this delicate skin and reduce the risk of skin cancer, sunspots, freckles and wrinkles.
How Do Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes?
Sunglasses provide UV protection by acting like a barrier to reflect harmful ultraviolet rays. Along with providing eye protection, sunglasses prevent squinting and make it easier to adapt to darkness. The American Optometric Association recommends the following when choosing a pair of sunglasses:
- Sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays and 75 to 90 percent of visible light
- Frames that fit close to your eyes and contour the shape of your face
- Lenses that match in color, are free of distortion and imperfections, and have uniform tints
Additional recommendations include the following:
- If you wear contact lenses, you should also wear sunglasses.
- If you already wear eyeglasses, you may opt for prescription sunglasses or eyewear with polarized lenses.
Do All Sunglasses Block UV Rays?
Generally, most sunglasses on the market today block out UV rays. However, you should look for the words “UV protection” or something similar on the label so you can be sure the sunglasses you choose will protect your eyes from UV rays.
For Overall Eye Health, Rely on FOCUS Laboratories
Are sunglasses necessary? Yes, but they alone are not enough. There are also other ways to protect your eyes and support your overall eye health. FOCUS Laboratories is here to help with dietary supplements. We also offer on-the-go eyelid wipes to help remove debris and makeup from your eyelids and lashes. For the finest products for eye health, shop FOCUS Laboratories!