In the past few years, numerous health specialists have drawn attention to the harmful effects of the sun, especially in situations of chronic or prolonged exposure. People were advised to wear sunscreen lotion with high SPF, in order to reduce the risk of photoaging and skin cancer. However, not many discussions regarded the health of the eye. You might not be aware of this for a fact but UV rays coming from the sun can damage the eyes as well; given such risks, wearing sunglasses might be more than just a trend and an actual necessity.
Sunglasses, the best protection against sun damage to the eye
When it comes to protecting your skin against sun damage, you have the best facial sunscreen available. But what about the eyes? They require protection as well, especially if you are going to spend a lot of time in the sun. Unfortunately, you are not the only one to underestimate the importance of sunglasses in regard to sun damage. According to a recent survey undertaken by The Vision Council, there are quite a lot of people who acknowledge the risk of eye damage as a result of sun exposure but only a few actually use sunglasses to protect their eyes.
The UV rays coming from the sun can cause damage all year long, including in the winter or when it is cloudy outside. This means that we should wear sunglasses at all times, including when the sun is not visible or when it is cold outside. According to health experts, it only takes a quarter of an hour for the UV rays to begin damaging the eyes. Given such dangerous health consequences, you have to understand that they need protection and a good pair of sunglasses is not just a trend.
Many people use sunglasses only when they drive, so as not to be disturbed by the sun reflected through the windshield. Other reserves them for trips to the beach, using them rather as a stylish accessory than for protection purposes. As we are faced with so many risks regarding the health of our eyes, it is common sense that we should wear them more often. This is especially valid for the middle part of the day when the UV rays are most powerful. By wearing sunglasses when the time is right, you will no longer have to worry about how to get rid of under eye bags and lines.
Reflected UV rays, also a problem
It is a common misconception that the damage occurring at the level of the eye is only caused by direct exposure to UV rays, coming from the sun. The truth is that reflected UV rays also represented a problem and quite a significant one to consider. It seems that asphalt reflects 9% of the UV rays coming from the sun, while other concrete surfaces reflect 25%. Snow and water represent two of the most harmful surfaces, as they reflect 85%, respectively 100% of the UV rays.
How does UV radiation affect us and our eyes?
Dermatologists have warned the general population about UV rays slowly killing us, reaching as far as to damage our DNA. Sometimes, it is not enough to apply sunscreen, as the UV rays are just too powerful. When one exposes himself/herself to UV radiation, the risk of skin damage is higher than expected, with sunburns, photoaging and skin cancer representing major risks. However, not many people are aware of the fact that the sun can also damage the eyes.
What does the UV exposure mean in relation to eye health? The more prolonged the UV exposure is going to be, the higher the risk of eye sunburns, cataract and even age-related macular degeneration (UV radiation represents a contributing factor to the appearance of this condition).
The cornea of the eye can suffer from sunburns as well, a serious condition which is also known as snow blindness or photokeratitis. As you might have guessed, this painful condition is mainly caused by UV rays that reflect from the snow. Another condition that can appear because of sun damage is pterygium or surfer’s eyes; the patient experiences a growth of variable size on the surface of the eye, as a result of direct exposure to the sun (the wind and sand can represent contributing factors).
The truth is that 1/3 of all adults have suffered eye problems because of excessive exposure to harmful UV rays. Apart from sunburns, redness, and irritation, they have experienced impaired vision, premature aging of the skin around the eyes and even eye cancer.
When shopping for sunglasses, you have to forget the latest trends and seek out a pair that can block both UVA and UVB rays, screening out visible light at the same time. Never choose style overprotection, as you will end up regretting your decision. Always remember that the damage to the eye is not caused solely by the UV rays coming from the sun but also by those reflected on various surfaces, such as concrete, water or snow. Sunglasses represent highly efficient accessories, protecting the eyes against the harmful action of UV rays.