Reasons to Wear Sunglasses

Thursday, July 10, 2014

suglassesWhen we hear about sunglasses, most of us think of fashion and style. That is not primarily why we should wear them, however. 

  • While the debate is still ongoing in the medical community, most medical specialists believe that the ultraviolet rays in bright sunlight can damage the cornea, the lens, and even penetrate as deep as the retina. They believe that people at genetic risk of macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness, should be especially careful not to expose their retinas to unnecessary sun damage. They also speculate that direct sunlight on the lens can explain the high number of people with cataracts (Doheny, 2012). We should, thus, wear sunglasses that filter out UV light to prevent these huge long-term problems.

  • The benefit is not only long-term. Most beach goers and athletes have experienced swollen, bloodshot and light-sensitive eyes after a long day out in the sun. This can cause up to two days of poor vision. 

  • Many people report wearing sunglasses to block glare. With age, the lens becomes blurry, like a frosted window. Older people are thus at increased risk of car accidents if they drive without sunglasses (Laurance, 2007).

  • It is just as important for children to wear them, in their case because the lens and the fluid behind it are completely clear. This allows sunlight to pass directly onto the retina.

  • Participants in various sports report that they do better with than without sunglasses (Heiting, 2014). They can track moving balls more successfully, and fast movers like cyclists can spot potential obstacles earlier. Many sportspersons wear tinted sunglasses, for the double benefit of blocking out sunlight and increasing contrast between, for example, sky and ball.

  • These benefits suggest that the best sunglasses are those that block 99 to 100 per cent of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound or close-fitting sunglasses are also superior, because they protect our eyes from all angles (Robertson, 2014). 

  • Blue-blocking, mirror-coated and polarized sunglasses are popular with skiers and water sports enthusiasts because they reduce reflected glare off snow and water.

So when you go shopping for sunglasses, pay attention to more than fashion.