With the advent of summer, most vacationers grab a pair of sunglasses before hitting the beach or driving around in a convertible. However, sunglasses are important eyewear every season of the year. Rather than thinking of your glasses as a fashion statement, the Orlando ophthalmology team at Magruder Laser Vision wants you to view sunglasses as eye protection.
Your sunglasses should meet several requirements --Look for quality glasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB radiation, fit snugly on your face, wrap around as much as possible to protect your eyes from all angles, and have polarized lenses if you plan to spend time in an environment with glare, such as around water, snow, or sand.
Wearing quality sunglasses when you are in direct contact with sunlight has several advantages, especially when the health of your eye is concerned. Many eye diseases and conditions are sun related, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium. While many of these disorders accompany aging, exposure to direct sunlight greatly may increase the likelihood of damage.
- Cataracts: As the eye’s lens becomes occluded, it reduces and blurs vision. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure is a contributing factor to more rapid cataract formation.
- Macular Degeneration: The retina is the focal point of information perceived by the eye. When the macula of the retina degenerates, central vision is destroyed. Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
- Pterygium (surfer’s eye): Irregular tissue growth extending from the conjunctiva onto the cornea which alters the shape of the eye, causing irregular astigmatism, and, in more severe cases, can block light from entering the eye.
- Skin Cancer: The skin of the eyelids are sensitive to UV light, and are susceptible to developing skin cancer.
- Exposure of the eye’s surface: Sunglasses also serve as protection from wind or fans which can dry out the surface of the eye. The conjunctiva is also susceptible to cancerous growths from UV exposure, which sunglasses can protect against.
Whether you participate in sports or are simply walking around the block, protecting your eyes is essential. You cannot control the wind, rain, or other elements, so keeping a pair of sunglasses handy whenever you step outside will keep your eyes protected. Wrap around lenses will also prevent any debris from flying into your sensitive eyes.