Sunglasses can help you look cool even when you feel like you’re melting, but not everyone realizes that they’re far more than an accessory. The sun may be one of the better sources for Vitamin D, but it comes with the drawback of some very harmful UV rays. Before you skip the shades or opt for your regular eyeglasses, consider how the summer heat can be murder on your eyes and why sunglasses are a good way to stop the damage before it starts.
Protecting Your Cornea and Retina
The cornea and retina function as a team: the retina allows you to see what’s in front of you and the cornea filters irritants to the retina that can distort or weaken your vision. But neither component is immune to the power of the summer sun. Your cornea can be sunburned, which will weaken its defenses and open your retina up to additional damage.
Sun damage to your retina may cause macular degeneration. (This common problem is the leading cause of vision loss in people aged 50 or older.) When you wear the right sunglasses, you keep harmful UV rays from ever reaching the most sensitive parts of your eye.
Sunglasses can be the key to reducing your risk for a variety of other conditions and may help prevent blindness or even death. For example, your eyelids are so thin and exposed that they’re a potential target for skin cancer — especially if you spend a lot of time outside. Skin cancer is not a localized condition and can spread quickly if you’re not careful.
Cataracts are typically linked to genetics, insulin imbalances, and medication use, but there is evidence that shows the sun may also be a contributing factor. When you can’t put sunscreen on, the next best thing is to slip on a pair of sunglasses.
A pair of drug-store glasses will never have the same benefits as those that were carefully engineered to block out the sizzling summer sun. If you have questions about the best sunglasses in the show, Powers Eye Center may be able to give you a push in the right direction.