There are two main reasons why sunglasses are such important accessories. The first is that they protect your eyes from UV rays by blocking at least 90% of harmful UV rays. A small number of people (less than 1% of the population) are sensitive to UVA rays and require sunglasses to protect their eyes at nearly all times due to the damage that can occur. Another reason why sunglasses are so important is because they eliminate squinting, which can cause dry eye or worsening vision due to cataracts or glaucoma, not to mention the signs of facial aging like crow’s feet and frown lines.
To see, first, your eyes must be healthy in many different aspects. To keep your eyes healthy, you need to protect them from exposure to damaging UV rays. To this end, it is important to understand that UVA rays and UVB rays are not the same things. UVB rays cause sunburns and damage the outer layers of your skin, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin, causing long-term damage to your skin’s internal processes, eventually causing skin damage and skin diseases like skin cancer.
UVA rays damage the proteins in your eyes, causing them to shrink and inflame, leading to glaucoma. You can prevent this damage by wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA rays whenever you are outside or in the sunlight.
1. Cataracts – This condition is the primary cause of blindness for adults over 60 and the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The loss of your vision from cataracts is permanent and irreversible, so you need to protect your eyes now and begin wearing UV-protectant glasses as soon as possible. Patients with cataracts will have blurry or cloudy vision and may need surgery to see again – much more expensive than getting in the habit of wearing sunglasses early and often.
2. Dry eyes – Usually caused by squinting and exposure to a dry environment, dry eyes can cause pain, blurry, or distorted vision, and can lead to vision loss. Dry eyes are especially common during the recovery after LASIK surgery.
3. Skin aging – UVA rays cause premature aging of the skin in addition to wrinkles and age spots, which make you look older than you are.
There are a few things you should consider when looking to help protect your eyes with sunglasses beyond their ability to block UVA and UVB rays. Depending on your lifestyle and hobbies, you may benefit from activity-specific sunglasses, such as those designed to be worn when driving, boating, or playing sports. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, look for sunglasses that offer an anti-reflective coating for clear vision in bright light.
People who require vision correction through glasses can spend a few extra dollars on prescription sunglasses to make sure they’re seeing clearly. Those with contacts may be able to get away with non-prescription sunglasses, although the hassle and personal preference may be too annoying to deal with without prescription lenses.
You do not need to wear sunglasses every minute you spend time outside. However, when the weather allows you to spend multiple hours with the sun out, you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Advanced Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmology and optometry practice in Boca Raton, Florida, treating all eye diseases: retina, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, cornea, and more. To meet with Dr. Archana Gupta at Advanced Eye Surgeons, simply call our office or fill out our online contact form today to learn more ways to protect your eyesight for years to come.