Your shades are more than a fashion statement. Sunglasses shield your eyes and the delicate skin around your eyes from health problems as varied as sunburn, cataracts and skin cancer.
Research suggests that blue-eyes people are more susceptible to sun damage so it’s especially important for all people with light-colored eyes to be protected with good sunglasses.
Here are some negative effects of the sun on your eyes:
CORNEA: A common summertime scenario involves a day at the beach, gritty eyes that worsen as the day goes by, and a trip to ER by 10 pm. A sunburned cornea triggers quite a bit of pain, can cause temporary blindness, and takes a while to heal.
LENS: Behind the iris of the eye lies the crystalline lens which helps to focus light onto the retina. That lens can develop a cloudiness and it can “yellow”, causing loss of vision. This is a cataract and overexposure to UV light has been linked to the premature development of some types of cataracts. Cataract surgery is successful and common, but regularly wearing sunglasses over the years and a hat can help put it off or even eliminate the need for surgery.
RETINA: The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina where we have straight-ahead vision and detailed vision. The macula can start to deteriorate causing a condition called macular degeneration, leading to blurred vision or an expanding blind spot. WHITE OF
THE EYE: Sun damage can cause pinguecula, a thickening of the clear thin membrane that covers the white of the eye. It is usually visible with raised yellowish spots or patches on the eye. If it grows over the cornea it causes a condition called pterygium (also called surfer’s eye) which can obscure vision and require surgery. SKIN
AROUND THE EYES: The skin around the eyes, particularly the eyelids, is made up of a very thin tissue. Over time, repeated UV exposure and squinting can lead to wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancers. 10% of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids.
PROTECT YOUR PEEPERS: A sun hat and a good pair of sunglasses are your best defense. Oversized frames are good for more sun protection. Quality optically ground lenses rather than the pressed plastic used in cheap sunglasses will eliminate distortion. Polarized lenses cut glare for crisper clearer vision. If the sunglasses do not block 99-100% of the UV, put them back!