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How Do Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes from the Sun?

How Do Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes from the Sun?
Most people know that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are bad for our skin. But did you know they’re just as bad for your eyes? Although sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Some of the effects of the sun’s harmful rays on your eyes include:

Effects on the Eyes

  • UV light is absorbed by molecules which are present in the eye cells and tissues.  If too much UV light is absorbed, eye structures such as the cornea, the lens and the retina can be damaged.
  • Exposure of insufficiently protected eyes to ultraviolet rays can cause Photokeratitis or ultraviolet keratitis, which is a painful condition of the eye. Photokeratitis is similar to a sunburn of the cornea and conjunctiva, and is not usually noticed until several hours after exposure. It may be painful and include symptoms such as red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.
  • A clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision known as cataracts. An estimated 20% of cataracts cases are caused by extended UV exposure.
  • Macular degeneration is when there is damage to the retina that destroys central vision. Macular degeneration is the leading causes of blindness.
  • Pterygium is a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye.  This benign growth can alter the curve of the eyeball which can ultimately cause astigmatism.
The longer the eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing conditions such as cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.

When purchasing sunglasses, it is important to look for ones that block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy. A wide-brimmed hat, in combination, offers great protection, too!

Topic: Wellbeing