The eyes are a crucial part of the body that we use for almost everything we do. For that reason, it’s equally crucial that we keep our eyes in good shape. So, what role do sunglasses play in eye health?
Sunglasses help protect the eyes from debris and harmful sun rays. If you don’t protect your eyes, they could suffer corneal burns, cataracts, and other degrading conditions. When you go outside, wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection — even if it’s winter or partly cloudy.
But are there any circumstances when you don’t need to wear sunglasses outside? Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of wearing sunglasses as well as when you should be wearing them.
How Do Sunglasses Benefit Your Eyes?
Believe it or not, sunglasses actually provide several important benefits for your eyes:
1. Sunglasses Offer a Barrier From Debris
While sunglasses are most well known for protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays, they actually protect your eyes from other things as well, such as dust, debris, and moisture.
For example, if it’s summertime and you’re headed to the beach, a sudden wind could blow sand into your eyes. This can be both painful and annoying. Sunglasses can help prevent this from happening.
It’s also important that your sunglasses fit your face properly—which is why we’ve created a fitting guide here.
2. Sunglasses Help Prevent Eye Disease
Too much exposure to the sun can cause your eyes to develop diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium. All of these diseases can cause your vision to degrade.
Wearing sunglasses with the proper UV protection can help prevent the damaging rays of the sun from reaching your eyes, thus preventing these nasty diseases.
3. Sunglasses Can Prevent Light Triggers
If you are one of the many people who suffer from migraines or headaches that are caused by light, then going out during a sunny day can be downright painful. Sunglasses, especially darker lenses, help to block this light and prevent your condition from triggering.
4. Sunglasses Protect Eye Skin
If you’re worried about the way the skin around your eyes looks, you should definitely be wearing sunglasses. Besides just protecting your eyes from the sun, they also protect the skin around your eyes, which is very thin.
Placing a barrier like sunglasses that cover the area under and above your eyes can help protect this skin from sun spots, skin cancer, and signs of aging.
5. Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes From Burns
Did you know that it’s possible to burn your corneas? These parts of your eyes are delicate, and looking at the sun without sunglasses can cause them to burn — which is incredibly painful.
Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from corneal burns by blocking out the parts of the sun’s rays that cause these burns.
Should You Wear Sunglasses Every Time You Go Outside?
It’s critical to wear sunglasses every time you go outside, even if it’s winter or slightly cloudy. Sunglasses help to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays that can still reach your eyes, even if it isn’t summer.
While a fully cloudy day likely won’t require sunglasses (and they may even make it dangerous to drive in such conditions), it’s important to have your sunglasses with you just in case there’s a break in the clouds that may allow sunlight to filter through.
Should Your Sunglasses Be 100% UV Protected?
Any pair of sunglasses you buy should offer 100% UV protection. Without this protection, there’s a chance that harmful sun rays can get through your sunglasses and reach your eyes. Exposing your eyes to direct sunlight can cause corneal burn, as well as other long-term eye conditions.
You should also look for sunglasses that cover as much of your eye area as possible, such as a wide lens or wrap-around style (on Amazon). These will keep your eyes best protected from the sun.
Are Polarized Lenses Better for Your Eyes?
As you’re shopping for sunglasses, you’ll probably notice that some are labeled as polarized lenses. While polarized lenses aren’t necessarily better for your eyes, they can help your sunglasses to be more comfortable.
Polarized lenses help reduce glare, which can make your sunglasses more useful — and encourage you to wear them more often. Just make sure any polarized lenses you plan to purchase also offer 100% UV protection. UV protection is much more important than polarization.
Sunglasses provide numerous benefits to the eyes, from protecting them from debris to guarding them against the sun’s rays, which can cause eye diseases.
No matter what concerns you have about your eyes, sunglasses should always be worn to help protect them from damage. Just make sure that any pair of sunglasses you buy filters our 100% UV rays to ensure your eyes are fully protected.