What many of us have yet to realise is that sunglasses make more than just a fashion statement; they also protect our eyes from harmful rays that can damage sensitive cells and lead to reduced vision. Experts have said that it’s hard to isolate exactly what damage the sun can do, but studies have shown that cataracts, cloudy vision and a loss of eyesight can all be attributed to exposure to the sun. Nowadays, there is more incentive than ever to wear sunglasses, as the sun has gotten hotter and harsher, and there is an abundance of awesome sunglasses available to keep you protected.
The ABC’s of UV Radiation
UV radiation comes in three ranges; UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC is the most damaging, but fortunately, the earth’s atmosphere absorbs it, and we don’t have to worry about it! However, UVB rays are linked with what’s called photokeratitis, a type of sunburn on the cornea, with a form of eye cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, cataracts, and a condition called pterygium in which a white fleshy growth appears on the surface of the eye. UVA rays can also damage the retina and it’s best to avoid exposure to these too.
Looking for Light in All the Wrong Places
You may think that staring directly at the sun is the only thing that can damage your eyes, but there are actually several unexpected sources of UV radiation. Reflected UV rays can be as dangerous, and grass, soil and water can reflect UV without you even realising it. When you go to the beach your eyes are particularly vulnerable, as UV rays can reflect from the sand as well as the water, so it’s essential you don a pair of sunglasses and preferably a hat too.
Even walking around outside can affect your eyes if they are not adequately protected, and at midday, the UV dose can be up to 10x higher than it would be in the morning or evening. Just as we should all wear sunscreen whenever we go into the sun, so too should we wear sunglasses any time we are outside.
What to Look for when Buying Sunglasses
Aside from purchasing a pair of designer sunglasses or ones that suit your sporting lifestyle, there are several things you should look out for when buying a pair of shades:
- Lenses should be large enough to cover your eyes and prevent as much light as possible from reaching them. Oakley makes great wrap around styles, as do Bvlgari.
- Lenses should also be as dark as possible, and you should never feel as though you are squinting into the sun.
- The fit should also be spot on; as if a pair of sunglasses is loose on your face you may reduce their effectiveness as they slide down constantly.
- Adequate UV protection should be included. Cheap sunglasses may not offer any UV protection, so it’s worth buying a decent pair that keeps you in the clear.
EyeQ stocks a great selection of sunglasses, so if you’re in need of proper eye protection pay us a visit and we’ll help you select the perfect pair - or two!