The Importance of Wearing sunglasses

Many indi­vid­u­als apply sun­screen to pro­tect their skin from expo­sure to the harm­ful rays that are emit­ted by the sun. How­ev­er, not as many indi­vid­u­als take the same pro­tec­tive mea­sures for their eyes against those same harm­ful rays. Unpro­tect­ed expo­sure to the sun can cause very seri­ous vision and eye com­pli­ca­tions. Wear­ing prop­er sun­glass­es is a sim­ple, but extreme­ly ben­e­fi­cial action that indi­vid­u­als can do to main­tain healthy vision and eyes.

Block­ing UVA and UVB

Only sun­glass­es that offer a high per­cent­age of UV pro­tec­tion are ben­e­fi­cial. Sun­glass­es that do not pro­tect against harm­ful UVA and UVB rays are just a fash­ion acces­so­ry and pro­vide no health ben­e­fits to the wear­er. UVA and UVB rays have been linked to cause cataracts, benign growths on the eye sur­face, skin can­cers of the eye­lid, and pho­tok­er­ati­tis. Tak­ing such a small step as wear­ing prop­er pro­tect­ing sun­glass­es when out in the sun­light can pre­vent these seri­ous eye and vision com­pli­ca­tions.

Cataracts are a con­di­tion that caus­es the lens to become cloudy, which results in blur­ry vision. Both UVA and UVB have been shown in stud­ies to have some impact upon the for­ma­tion and devel­op­ment of cataracts. Prop­er sun­glass­es should be rat­ed to block out 99–100% of all UVA and UVB rays. The benign growths that can devel­op from unpro­tect­ed expo­sure to UVB rays can be unap­peal­ing, cause corneal com­pli­ca­tions and impair vision. The skin of the eye­lids can be very sus­cep­ti­ble to skin can­cer. Pho­tok­er­ati­tis, or snow blind­ness in extreme cas­es, is the inflam­ma­tion of the cornea can be caused by high short-term expo­sure to UVB rays. The main symp­tom of pho­tok­er­ati­tis is tem­po­rary vision loss up to 48 hours.

Blue Light

Blue light that comes from the high-ener­gy end of the vis­i­ble light spec­trum and is the type of light that is emit­ted from LED lights. Blue light has been linked to cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to reti­nal cells in the eyes that can lead to mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion. Mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion is the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of the reti­na cells, which are respon­si­ble for relay­ing the images we see to the optic nerve, and is the lead­ing cause of vision loss, even more than cataracts and glau­co­ma.

See­ing in the Dark

The last main vision con­se­quence that can arise from not wear­ing prop­er or any sun­glass­es is the loss or delayed dark adap­ta­tion. Exces­sive time spent in bright light can hin­der the eyes abil­i­ty to adapt quick­ly to indoor or night­time light. This can extreme­ly haz­ardous when an indi­vid­ual has been dri­ving in bright sun­light and has to adapt to dri­ving in low light envi­ron­ments.

Best Type of Sun­glass­es

The best type of sun­glass­es to buy for the most pro­tec­tion is ones that are rat­ed to block out 100% of UVA and UVB rays and UV 400 (which are the tini­est UV rays). The col­ors of lens­es do not mat­ter as much in pro­tec­tion but yel­low and rose– col­ored lens­es tend to dis­tort col­ors and are not rec­om­mend­ed for dri­ving. Gray, green and brown-col­ored lens­es reduce light inten­si­ty with­out dis­tort­ing col­ors, which would be safer for dri­ving. And if a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time is expect­ed to be spent on the water, polar­ized lens­es would be a good option because they fil­ter the reflec­tive glare off of the water.

November 20th, 2015|Comments Off on The Importance of Wearing sunglasses

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


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