Why Sunglasses are Important

The Importance of sunglasses: Protecting Your Eyes and Skin from Harmful UV Light

As an optometrist, it is crucial to not only diagnose and treat current eye diseases but also to promote healthy lifestyle modifications that can prevent the occurrence of such conditions. Wearing sunglasses is a simple yet effective measure individuals can take to safeguard their eyes and the surrounding skin. The numerous health advantages of sunglasses may be unknown to many individuals. When it comes to wearing sunglasses, most of the health benefits really stem from their UV light protecting ability. UV light is short for ultraviolet light, and if you can remember the visual spectrum being ROYGBIV, the V part is indigo and then violet. So, UV light is right below violet and is ultraviolet. In fact, it’s not part of the visual spectrum, so you can’t see ultraviolet light, but it is still present even on cloudy days. That is exactly why, if you’re out on the beach and it’s a cloudy day but the sun is out, you can still get sunburned from that ultraviolet light.

 

Protect Your Eyes: The Importance of Wearing sunglasses to Prevent Age-Related Cataracts.

Again, you can’t see it, but it’s there. If you’re somebody who’s not wearing sunglasses on a regular basis, this UV light does cause damage not just to the skin and the eyelid around the eye, but the eyes themselves. One of the easiest and most frequent eye diseases that eye doctors will mention that is good for wearing sunglasses to protect from is that of age-related cataracts. UV light is known to penetrate deep into the eye and, in a way, almost cook the lens, the crystalline lens inside the eye, and this makes the lens turn kind of a cloudy appearance, a particular type of cataract called a cortical cataract. It kind of looks like bicycle spokes coming in from the sides. That is a type of cataract that is known to be caused more by exposure to UV light. In fact, studies have shown that people who are exposed to more UV light over the course of their lifetime and don’t wear sunglasses are more likely to develop these types of cataracts.

 

Why I ALWAYS Wear sunglasses

The Importance of sunglasses in Protecting Eyelid Skin and Preventing Premature Aging

But really, preventing cataracts is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sunglasses protecting the eyes. What I consider to be a lesser talked about benefit of sunglasses is that of UV light aging and thinning of the eyelid skin. The eyelids are some of the thinnest tissue on the entire body, and UV light causes thinning of that skin and basically premature aging around the eyelids. If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors and you’re not protecting your eyelids from UV rays, then your eyelid skin can thin out, and that’ll make the appearance of dark circles and eye bags more prominent, basically making your eyelids and face look older. Not to mention, UV light exposure can cause sunburn to the eyelids, and in fact, about 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids, most notably the lower eyelid, as the eyebrow can cause a little bit of shading and protect the upper eyelid from that sunlight exposure.

 

Protect Your Eyes from Sunburn and Growth with sunglasses

In fact, it’s not just the eyelids that can get sunburned, but the cornea, the clear window surface to the eye, can also get sunburned because the cornea absorbs about 99 percent of UV rays that penetrate through our clouds’ atmosphere. In the eye care world, we call this sunburn photokeratitis, and a lot of people more commonly will know this as snow blindness as skiers, snowboarders, people are hitting the slopes, that sunlight, the UV light will hit and bounce off of the snow. About 80 percent of UV light is reflected off of the top of water, and so this can end up hitting you in the eye, giving you almost a double dose, and that can give you severe sunburn to the surface of the eye. Hence why skiing and snowboarding goggles are such a popular thing. Furthermore, UV light exposure can contribute to growth on the surface of the eye. Some people develop these nasty, red, irritating growths that are growing onto the eye. We call those pterygiums.

 

The Importance of sunglasses in Preventing UV-Related Eye Diseases and Promoting Healing After Refractive Surgery

Some people may commonly know them as surfer’s eye, but that is largely caused by excessive UV light exposure, and wearing sunglasses is probably the cheapest, most cost-effective way of preventing or really slowing down the growth of that disease. Now, one of the other cool things about UV light and how it affects the cornea, again, how I said that the cornea absorbs about 99 percent of the UV rays that get into your eyes, well, if you’re someone who’s ever had LASIK or some other form of refractive surgery, you may remember your surgeon telling you to start wearing sunglasses whenever you’re outside. That’s because UV light exposure has been found in studies to affect the healing rate of the cornea, especially after having any sort of refractive surgery, such as LASIK.

 

The Importance of sunglasses for Eye Protection and Comfort

So, if you’re somebody who’s really hard on your eyes, whether you’ve had surgery or you wear contact lenses excessively, having some sort of UV light protection may slow down any sort of issues with healing and may help your eye heal faster. Not to mention, just wearing sunglasses is basically like putting on a protective shield over your eyes, which is going to help prevent any sort of dust, wind, or sand from blowing and hitting you in the eyes, making them feel uncomfortable. On a personal note, one of the reasons why you will frequently see me wear sunglasses, is because I myself struggle a lot with migraine headaches, and wearing sunglasses can really improve the comfort of my eyesight and vision when I’m around bright lights. It’s well known that bright lights can be a common trigger for people with chronic headaches and migraines, especially after any sort of head injury or TBI, traumatic brain injury.

 

Protect Your Eyes and Enhance Your Vision with sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses really helps me prevent from getting headaches. Probably one other really cool reason I love wearing sunglasses and I’m always wearing sunglasses is because it enhances my vision and eyesight, particularly with sunglasses that have polarized filters in them.I am kind of a snob when it comes to polarized lenses. Not all the time, you don’t always need polarized lenses, but it’s something that really adds an extra reduction glare in your eyesight. You can even see different parts of the world around you because of polarized filters. All of these reasons for protecting your eyes are pretty amazing, mainly because your eyes are arguably, at least in my opinion, the most precious sensory organ in your entire body. I mean, could you imagine what life would be like if you lost your vision? But when it really comes down to it, sunglasses are just one of the best and easiest ways to prevent eye diseases and prevent vision problems, people going blind in the future.