Sunglasses 101 – 5 Reasons you NEED to Wear Them
Sunglasses may seem more fashion accessory than health aid these days, so you might be surprised to learn the multitude of eye-health benefits associated with wearing them. Sure, sunglasses make those bright, sunny days more comfortable, but it’s the blocking of harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that truly makes sunglasses a must-have outdoor accessory…even on cloudier days.
Here are five eye-healthy reasons to wear sunglasses:
Prolonged UV exposure can lead to cataracts, the most common cause of vision loss in people aged 40 and over. Characterized by clouding of the eyes’ natural lenses, cataracts can be treated with surgery before vision loss is permanent.
You wear sunscreen to help protect yourself against skin cancer, but chances are you aren’t applying anything to your eyelids. According to <a href=”http://www.skincancer.org/” target=”_blank”>Skincancer.org</a>, 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers originate on the eyelids. Conjunctival cancer — affecting the membrane lining behind the eyelid — also can result from overexposure to UV rays.
Close your eyes and apply sunscreen to your entire face, and be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses to give that sensitive eyelid skin added protection.
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 and over, with studies suggesting that UV light may increase risk. The age-related condition is caused over time by damage affecting the retina. Although the link is not conclusive, it stands to reason that overexposure to UV rays could damage the retina and contribute to the development of macular degeneration.
Also called ultraviolet keratitis, this painful eye condition is essentially a sunburn of the eye. The good news is that photokeratitis is temporary. The bad news is that you’re likely to endure 48 hours of eye-based misery including blurred vision and light sensitivity. Just remember to throw on a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses and it’s completely preventable.
UV radiation is the primary cause of a pterygium, a benign growth on the eyeball. The condition typically affects 30 to 50 year olds and is casually referred to as “surfer’s eye,” because surfers are particularly susceptible to UV damage given the amount of time they spend in the sun — and water. (The water reflects the sun’s UV rays putting surfers at even greater risk.) In addition to causing general discomfort and blurred vision, a pterygium could result in permanent disfigurement of the eye.