We all know that we should wear sunscreen before we go outside and most of us remember to take this precaution in order to protect our skin. However, many people still think of sunglasses as being purely a fashion accessory when in actual fact, they are a vitally important piece of protective eyewear that can ensure that your eyes aren’t damaged by the harmful effects of the sun.
There are three different types of UV light. These are UVA, UVB, and UVC. All of these have the potential to cause damage to our eyes and skin.
UVA is the wavelength of light that penetrates the skin the most. It isn’t as strong as UVB or UVC, but it is more prevalent, making up around 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth. It is also responsible for tanning and premature skin aging. UVA penetrates deeply, affecting the inner layers of the skin and eyes.
UVB affects the outer layer of skin and is the type of light responsible for sunburn. It also affects the cornea covering the front part of our eyes, and this can cause a range of problems from irritation and excessive watering to light sensitivity.
UVC is the strongest and most damaging type of sunlight. Fortunately, the vast majority of UVC gets absorbed by the ozone layer so it doesn’t have the opportunity to reach us.
Unfortunately, there are numerous ways in which UV exposure can negatively affect our eyes and, as a result, our vision. Here are some of the main reasons why you should take steps to protect your eyes from the sun this summer.
The skin around our eyes is thin and delicate and just as likely to be affected by skin cancer as anywhere else on our body. Unsurprisingly, many people dislike putting sunscreen around their eyes for fear of getting it in them. However, sunglasses with wide or large lenses are an effective way of protecting the skin around your eyes and your eyelids from UV. Be sure to choose lenses that protect against 100% of UV rays.
Cataracts are an extremely common eye problem that tends to develop with advancing age and is difficult to avoid. It occurs when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded due to the proteins contained within it clumping together. There is no cure for cataracts, but the lens can be replaced with an artificial alternative. Nevertheless, studies have shown that protecting your eyes against harmful UV rays can help to slow the progression of cataracts.
There are numerous different growths that can develop on our eyes with two of the most common being pterygiums and pingueculas. Both of these develop as a result of harmful UV exposure and they can negatively impact our vision. By wearing sunglasses, it is possible to decrease your risk of experiencing growths affecting the eyes.
Just like every other part of our body, our eyes are susceptible to sunburn too. A condition called photokeratitis occurs when UV rays are reflected off of a light, reflective surface such as snow, sand or water, causing our eyes to become burnt. Sunglasses, and in particular wide and large framed varieties, offer the best protection against UV rays coming in from any direction, directly from the sun or reflected off of something else.
Macular degeneration is another common eye condition and it occurs due to the natural deterioration of a part of the eye called the macula. This is an area of light-sensitive cells that is responsible for central vision and give us the clarity needed to see things in detail. The macula degenerates with age, but overexposure to UV light has been shown to be a contributing factor in its development. Therefore, by protecting your eyes using sunglasses, you could also reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.
If you’ve got further questions about the importance of protecting your eyes from the harmful effects caused by the sun, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team.