Sunglasses have become popular fashion accessories, often costing hundreds of dollars from designer brands. However, it is important to remember that sunglasses serve an incredibly important purpose by protecting the eyes from the sun. Many people forget that the sun’s UV rays can harm the eyes just like they can harm the skin. Wearing sunglasses is the single most effective way to keep the eyes shielded from the sun all year long.
Without Sunglasses, Your Eyes Will Suffer
If you spend years squinting into the sun without using sunglasses to cover your eyes, the sun’s UV rays will most likely have negative consequences on your vision and overall eye health. To begin with, UV rays can instigate cataracts, and in fact 20 percent of all cataracts are caused by extended UV exposure. Macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the world since it results in damage to the retina, is also linked to long term UV exposure. Of course, the eyelids and skin surrounding the eyes are also vulnerable to skin cancer.
Sunglasses Need to Block All UV Rays
The sun emits multiple types of UV rays, but since they are invisible it isn’t always possible to tell the difference. Since they are all harmful, the right sunglasses must block all UV rays. UVC rays are the highest-energy UV rays and pose the most danger to your eyes. This is why the atmosphere’s ozone is intended to block all UVC rays, but as pollution and other environmental problems threaten the ozone layer, you can’t take the ozone’s protective nature for granted. UVB rays, meanwhile, are the rays of the sun responsible for stimulating the production of melanin to tan the skin. People love this effect, but over time UVB rays accumulate to increase the risk of cancer and prematurely age the skin.
UVA rays are the closest to visible light, and despite having lower energy than UVB and UVC rays, they pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina of the eye. This makes UVA rays incredibly dangerous to the eye; it is UVA overexposure that is mainly responsible for the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Even the visible light of the sun, HEV radiation or blue light, can penetrate deep into the eye and damage the retina.
Protective Sunglasses are a Must
Overall, given the many different damaging rays emitted by the sun, you never want to leave home without a pair of sunglasses that block 100 percent of all UV rays and absorb HEV rays as well. Large lenses and a wraparound style can help to protect as much of your eyes and surrounding skin as possible. For more help with finding the right glasses or treating eye problems related to sun exposure, call Dr. Older at the J. Justin Older Eyelid Institute. He will help get to the root of your problems and prescribe the best solution to bring you relief.