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4 reasons why wearing sunglasses is more important than you think

Wearing of sunglasses is becoming more and more popular. With a good reason. Sunglasses, with their many colours, shapes and materials underline our character and help us enhance our personality. So they have become one of our favourite accessories.

But the style factor of sunglasses is not their only benefit. First and foremost, sunglasses have an immeasurable protective function against UV rays.

They protect our eyes from serious eye diseases and are the best protection against harmful sun rays. For adults and children, whether in summer or winter!

Find out which are the features of sunglasses that protect our eyes and why brand sunglasses are more expensive but also far more protective.

1. Sunlight can cause severe eye diseases

As the name suggests, we wear sunglasses to protect us from the sun and its UV radiation. Just as our skin needs to be protected from excessive sun by using sunscreen and long clothing, our eyes also need to be protected. This is because solar radiation has fatal consequences for our cornea and retina.

If too much unfiltered sunlight reaches our eyes, especially at a young age, serious diseases can develop, which can lead to complete blindness or even cancer.

Note: An adult lens can absorb UV light to a certain extent so that it cannot enter the inside of the eye.

Children's eyes, however, are particularly vulnerable: In the first years of life, 90% of UVA and over 50% of UVB rays reach the retina, and at between 10 and 13 years of age 60% and 25% respectively. It is only at the age between 18 and 20 that the UV rays can be filtered by the lens. Read our 7 reasons why kids need to wear sunglasses.
The damaging effets of UV rays on your eyes

Here is an overview of the most common eye diseases caused by sunlight

Cataracts


Cataract is the clouding of the eye's natural lens. It is the most common cause of vision loss in people over 40 and is also the leading cause of blindness around the world. Besides, with age, cataract risk factors include ultraviolet radiation. In order to prevent cataracts, you should wear sunglasses that block 100 per cent of the sun's UV rays. However, complete prevention of cataract through sunglasses is not guaranteed, as the disease can also be triggered by physiological factors, other than exposure to the sun.

Macular Degeneration


Macular Degeneration happens when the small central portion of your retina, called the macula, wears off. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of your eye. It usually doesn’t cause blindness but might cause severe vision problems. Several renowned studies have suggested that sun exposure may be a risk factor for macular degeneration and that skin sensitivity to sunlight and iris colour play a central role in determining macular degeneration.

Eye Cancer


Most melanomas affect the skin, but some develop in other parts of the body, including the eye. Eye cancer (ocular melanoma) develops in the pigment-producing cells that give colour to the eyes. Exposure to UV light may increase the risk of melanoma in the conjunctiva. This melanoma occurs on the surface of the eye.

Which sunglasses protect you from serious diseases caused by the sun?

Not all sunglasses are equally effective. Whether vintage, cheap, expensive, or polarised, they may or may not be doing their job to protect our eyes.

Most sunglasses today have UV protection embedded in the lens rather than coated over it, and most reputable brands list UV protection on their label. Look for a label that says “100% protection against both UVA and UVB” or “100% protection against UV 400.”

2. Snow glare, sand and wind cause painful irritation of the eye

Although most of us believe that sunglasses only protect against the sun, they also provide a shield against numerous other risk factors.

Snow


Just as sunglasses protect us against UV radiation from the sun, they also help us against UV radiation and reflected light from the snow.

Snow reflects 80% of UV rays from the sun and can cause a condition known as snow blindness, where glare from the sun actually burns the cornea (corneal flash burn). If you’re skiing, snowboarding or hiking in the snow (at any time of year), please wear sunglasses. Make sure they cover and protect the bottom of your eyes, because of the reflective nature of the snow.

Sand


Sand can also cause severe irritation and soiling of the eye. Therefore, always wear sunglasses when lying on the beach or playing volleyball. Learn more about what else harms your eyes on the beach.

Wind


Ultimately, wind can irritate and dry out your eyes. Therefore sunglasses provide protection in particularly windy situations. If you are prone to dry eyes in windy conditions, consider using eye drops.

3. Our eyes need special care when they recover from surgery

Some of us choose to undergo eye surgery to combat visual impairment, in order to see without the aid of glasses or contact lenses. A frequently performed operation is LASIK. The correction is achieved with a special laser that reshapes the cornea with the purpose of changing the focusing power.

Over time, the eyes improve steadily. So it is possible to go back to work a few days after the operation and go back to daily routines. Patients might experience discomfort during the first few days, such as mild irritation and light sensitivity, halos, glare or starbursts in low-light environments.

In the vast majority of cases, these problems are temporary and disappear completely within three to six months. During this time, the eyes should be strictly protected from sunlight, dirt and weather influences. The best way to achieve this is by wearing high-quality sunglasses.

4. Cheap, low-quality lenses do more harm to your eyes than not wearing glasses at all

Even though sunglasses from the supermarket, clothing store, gas station or from vendors on the beach are very common and inexpensive, we strongly advise against these cheap lenses. Unfortunately, cheap sunglasses often do not provide sufficient sun protection and can therefore lead to serious eye diseases.

The reason for this is simple: the dark tinted lenses of any sunglasses, whether expensive or cheap, dilate our pupils. As a result, we see better in darker light conditions. However, the dilation of our pupils can have serious consequences if the dark lenses do not offer built-in UV protection. The sun's rays can penetrate the inside of the eye unhindered and cause diseases such as cataract or eye cancer (see above).

Therefore please always wear high-quality brand sunglasses that sport a label that guarantees 100% UVA and UVB protection.

Are you convinced? Then browse our huge selection of high-quality sunglasses. Lentiamo offers glasses of the highest quality, the most prestigious brands and with the best UV filters.



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Leonie is the head of content at Lentiamo. She researches medical content, discusses complex matters with our opticians and creates educational texts for our blog, glossary and various guides. Her speciality is to make complex ophthalmological issues understandable.

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