Every year on June 27, we remind our patients, family, friends, and ourselves, that the best way to protect our eyes is to shade them with sunglasses.
Apart from being a fashion accessory, sunglasses help to shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, which can adversely affect your vision.
“We need to remember that 5-10% of skin cancers occur on eyelids and ultra-violet damage can contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration,” says Dr. Cheryl Roell, co-owner of All About Eyes. “So, sunglass protection is really important for the health of the eyes.”
The Vision Council, the organization that sponsors National Sunglasses Day, offers these important guidelines regarding ultra-violet (UV) eye protection:
- Despite the health risks of UV exposure, not all sunglasses have UV protection. Since UV protection is crucial to shielding eyes from damaging radiation, it is imperative to look for a label, sticker, or tag indicating UV protection before purchasing a pair of sunglasses.
- UV protection has nothing to do with the darkness or color of a lens. Wearing sunglasses with dark lenses without adequate UV protection can actually be worse than wearing no sunglasses at all because they cause the eye’s pupil to dilate, which then increases retinal exposure to the unfiltered UV.
- Children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults, increasing their susceptibility to UV eye damage. And, unlike the mature ocular lens of an adult eye, a child’s immature lens cannot filter out UV as easily. The need for UV protection for children is compounded by the fact that it is easier to find youth sunglasses that do not provide adequate UV protection. That’s why parents should always have their children‘s sunglasses tested for UV protection.
- UV rays are just as dangerous on cloudy days as they are on clear days. Just like skin, eyes can accumulate harmful UV radiation on overcast days so be sure to wear proper eye and skin protection while outside.
- Similar to cloudy days, cold days also carry UV risk. The sun is present year-round, which means UV rays are a constant regardless of the weather. UV rays can’t be seen, but their long-term effects are extremely damaging to the eyes.
If you need a new pair of UV-protected sunglasses, All About Eyes has a selection in our office for adults and children alike. Don’t forget, Saturday, June 27, is #NationalSunglassesDay!