Why are sunglasses important?
What damage can sunlight cause to the eyes?
There are several well-known effects of over-exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Included in these are cataracts, which are a clouding of the lens of the eye which causes distortion of the vision. According to research, some twenty percent of cataracts are caused by ultraviolet exposure to the eyes. Too much sun exposure can also damage the retina and lead to macular degeneration, which affects the vision in the centre of the field of view. In addition, sunlight damages the pterygium, the layer of tissue located over the white of the eye. Damage here may change the curvature of the eyeball and result in astigmatism which again damages your vision.
What to look for when buying sunglasses?
I will admit, I have been very bad at this myself for many years. For a long time, I only purchased cheap sunglasses that in hindsight (ha!) didn’t block a high proportion of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, simply because they are cheaper. Sadly, I’d always find out they were cheaper because they were badly made and they would fall apart within a year or two – a false economy in the end. Now I purchase decent eyewear that blocks 99-100% of UVA/UVB radiation and often will use a hat as well, to shield my eyes especially if I’m abroad. I use my sunglasses when driving on a sunny day, even in winter in the UK, after all Eastbourne is known as sun trap of the south!
Polarised sunglasses are great because they also block horizontal light waves, the waves which are reflected from surfaces such as water or the road. This means that when you’re wearing them you will get less eye fatigue and damage. A good trick to finds out if your sunglasses are polarised is to look at a LCD computer or phone screen with them on. If they’re polarised, then you won’t be able to read it properly as it will be darker due to the blocking of the horizontal light. Go for these but avoid the brands that only paint a cheap polarising layer on top of the lens as it can easily scratch and lead to UV exposure.
So who should wear sunglasses?
Everyone! Particularly children as they have larger pupils which naturally let in more light. This makes them particularly susceptible to sun damage of the lens and retina.
I hope you’ve found this blog useful. You can find lots of hints and tips from the chiropractors and other practitioners here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne by looking at our website and our chiropractic blog site.
Perhaps now is a good time to book that eye test that you’ve been meaning to have…? I’m off to book mine….!
Thanks for reading,
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