The Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses All Summer Long

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory, they also serve an important function: protecting your eyes and the surrounding skin from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays penetrate your skin’s outer layers. UVB rays affect the surface layer of your skin and play a prominent role in the development of skin cancer. Below are three important ways that sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection are a must when you’re out and about in the sun.

Sunglasses protect your sight

You may grab those sunglasses on sunny days so you don’t have to squint or shield your eyes all day. But did you realize they also protect your vision?

Cataracts and glaucoma

The sun triggers your body to produce vitamin D, which is necessary for good health. But long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun puts you at greater risk for cataracts and other eye conditions. UV exposure can also make glaucoma symptoms worse.

Macular degeneration

Too much prolonged sun exposure can even ramp up the progress of macular degeneration. Your macula is part of your retina — you need it to see. So wearing sunglasses every time you’re in the sun is one of the best things you can do to keep macular degeneration in check.

Pterygium

Too much sun can diminish your vision in other ways, too. You can develop a condition called pterygium, in which tissue begins to cover the white part of your eye and change its natural curve, affecting your sight.

Sunburned eyes

Too much time in the sun without adequate eye protection can even lead to painful “sunburned” eyes, where the sun burns your cornea. If the cornea is severely damaged, blindness can result. Always wear your sunglasses, and if you’re at the beach, add an umbrella to your sun-defense arsenal.

Sunglasses protect against skin cancer

An estimated 3.3 million Americans learn they have skin cancer each year, totaling about 5.4 million cases of skin cancer in the US today. Of course, you want to protect your eyes themselves, but we often forget about the skin surrounding our eyes.

Sunburn and prolonged and frequent sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Your eyelids and the surrounding skin is much thinner and more delicate than the skin elsewhere on your body, so it needs extra protection.

About 10% of skin cancer cases are diagnosed near the eyes. If left untreated, basal or squamous cell skin cancer on your eyelids can develop into melanoma (a deadly form of cancer), can damage your eyesight, and may even cause facial disfiguration.

Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is your best defense against skin cancer around your eyes. If you’re in the sun a lot, wraparound sunglasses provide the best protection against these harmful UV rays.

Sunglasses protect your eyes from environmental debris

Sand, dust, and dirt can all damage your eye’s cornea. If environmental debris or sand scratches the cornea, you should seek expert emergency eye care to avoid an eye infection or loss of vision.  

Choose the right sunglasses

Make sure you choose sunglasses with 99-100% UV protection. Wraparound styles are great because they provide better protection from all angles of the sun, cover a larger portion of the surrounding skin, and provide a better defense against environmental debris.

Call or book an appointment online with Dr. David R. Frazee in Richardson, Texas, for expert eye care and to ensure you’re getting high-quality, protective sunglasses.

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