Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement – they’re important protection from the hazards of UV light.
If you wear sunglasses mostly for fashion that’s great–just make sure the lenses block UVA and UVB rays.
And if you don’t wear sunglasses, it’s time to start.
Here are your top 6 reasons for wearing sunglasses:
Preventing Skin Cancer
One huge way that sunglasses provide a medical benefit is in the prevention of skin cancer on your eyelids. UV light exposure from the sun is one of the strongest risk factors for the development of skin cancers.
Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Your eyelids, especially the lower eyelids, are also susceptible to UV light and they do develop skin cancers somewhat frequently.
Many people who now regularly apply sunscreen to help protect them from UV light often don’t get that sunscreen up to the edge of their eyelids because they know the sunscreen is going to make their eyes sting and burn. Unfortunately, that leaves the eyelids unprotected. You can fix that by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
Decreasing Risk For Eye Disease
There is mounting evidence that lifetime exposure to UV light can increase your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. It also increases your risk of getting growths on the surface of your eye called Pinguecula and Pterygiums. Besides looking unsightly, these growths can interfere with your vision and require surgery to remove them.
Preventing Snow Blindness
Snow reflects UV light and on a sunny day the glare can be intense enough to cause a burn on your corne–much like what happens when people are exposed to a bright welding arc.
Protection From Wind, Dust, Sand
Many times, when you are spending time outdoors and it is windy, you risk wind-blown particles getting into your eyes. Sunglasses help protect you from that exposure. The wind itself can also make your tears evaporate more quickly, causing the surface of your eye to dry out and become irritated, which in turn causes the eye to tear up again.
People can get headaches if they are light sensitive and don’t protect their eyes from bright sunlight. You can also bring on a muscle tension headache if you are constantly squinting because the sunlight is too bright.
Clearer Vision When Driving
We have all experienced an episode of driving, coming around a turn, looking directly into the direction of the setting or rising sun, and having difficulty seeing well enough to drive. Having sunglasses on whenever you are driving in sunlight helps prevent those instances. Just a general reduction in the glare and reflections that sunlight causes will make you a better and more comfortable driver.
So it’s time to go out there and find yourself a good pair of sunglasses that you look great in and that protect your health, too.
Your eye-care professional can help recommend sunglasses that are right for your needs.
Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.
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