Sunglasses protect your delicate eyes from the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. These rays are present year-round, even on cloudy days and during the dead of winter.
At Valley Eye Professionals, we care about the eye health of our patients. Read on to learn why you shouldn’t skip wearing your sunglasses, no matter the season.
UV light causes a breakdown of your cells. When it comes to your skin, you may be aware of this and diligently wear sunscreen. But perhaps you don’t think about it when it comes to your eyes.
Cataracts, a condition in which the lens of your eye becomes cloudy and your vision blurs or doubles, can lead to serious vision impairment. Cataracts develop slowly and become more pronounced as you age, but exposure to the sun’s rays are a definite contributing factor to their development.
UV exposure is also associated with the noncancerous growths of pinguecula and pterygium. Pinguecula is a yellow bump on the white of the eye. Pterygium is a fleshy growth that can spread to the cornea if not treated and challenge your vision.
Macular degeneration may also develop more quickly if you have too much exposure to UV rays. While the research on this matter is mixed, why risk it? Just put on your sunglasses.
Photokeratitis is sunburn of the cornea. It causes discomfort and blurred vision as well as increased light sensitivity. You may even experience temporary vision loss, often referred to as “snow blindness.” The condition is temporary but uncomfortable. You can protect yourself by wearing sunglasses.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get quality sunglasses. You simply want lenses labeled “full UV protection” or “protects against UVA and UVB” or “UV 400.” All of these lenses block the damaging rays.
Dark lenses aren’t necessarily better than those with a lighter tint. Go for sunglasses with large lenses or that wrap around to provide comprehensive protection of your eyes and the skin around them.
Wear sunglasses when you’re outside and there’s daylight. Sunglasses are important when driving, too; while the windshield of your car protects you from UV rays, the door windows often do not. If you’re exercising outdoors, gardening, or picnicking, know that the damaging rays are strongest from 10am-2pm, when the sun is high in the sky.
Young people should diligently wear sun protection for their eyes. Some research suggests that UV light has a greater impact on the eyes in early life through your 20s. The lens of a child’s eye is clearer than that of an adult, meaning UV rays penetrate deep into the eye. Kids tend to spend more time outside than adults, too, which increases their exposure to the UV rays.
The specialists at Valley Eye Professionals are available to help you find the right sunglasses for your fashion, health, and vision needs. Prescription and transition lenses are available. Call the office or schedule your eye exam and consultation using this website.