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All About Sunglasses

Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses

As the weather gets warmer and everyone is spending more time outdoors, there is one accessory most people immediately reach for, and those are their sunglasses. Not only do they finish off the perfect outfit, but they are also necessary to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Just as the sun can damage your skin, it can also harm your eyes. Sun exposure to the skin can cause damage on the cellular level, better known as oxidative stress which can lead to skin cancer. Similarly, the sun can damage different parts of the eyes. Some of the ocular conditions caused by the sun are cataracts, pinguecula, pterygia, macular degeneration, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. This is why sunglasses can serve as sunscreen for your eyes.

But it is important to realize that not all sunglasses are created equal. Some inexpensive sunglasses offer no protection at all against the sun. In fact, these are more harmful to use than not wearing any sunglasses at all. If you do wear these sunglasses, your pupils will get larger behind the sunglasses because they create a darker environment. This will allow more UV light to get into your eyes and hence damage the eyes. It’s important to make sure you’re not using those at all. Purchasing sunglasses from your optometrist’s office will ensure that your sunglasses offers UV protection.

Another quality of sunglasses that most people have heard of are polarized lenses. But many may not know what the difference is between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses. The polarization does not affect the UV protection. However, polarized lenses filter the light so that it cuts down on the glare off shiny or smooth surfaces, such as water, glass, or chrome. In 1936 Edwin Land invented polarized lenses. It was in the 1980’s that NASA was able to use this technology to help astronauts see better in outer space due to the high amount of glare in space. Through NASA’s research it was found that birds of prey, such as eagles, contain a unique oil as part of their tear film which absorbs short wavelengths of light and reduces glare which allows them to have higher color contrast and definition to give optimal visual acuity. This allows for a crisper and clearer image. Polarized sunglasses are great for outdoor activities, such as biking, running, and fishing.

This season when you go out, whether it’s for a run or out for brunch, remember your sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes, make sure you have a pair with you. There are tons of different styles of sunglasses you could go for, sporty, fashionable, or the casual pair that will go with anything. The options for sunglasses are endless and just like shoes, you can’t have just one pair!

Start taking care of your eye health today!