With summer finally here, people will be spending more and more time outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. So it's more important than ever to protect yourself from the sun- and that includes wearing sunglasses.
According to GQ, there are many benefits to wearing sunglasses outdoors at all times. Ophthalmologist Lisa Park, MD says that wearing sunglasses helps prevent eye damage in three different ways. First, wearing sunglasses will help slow our retinas from muscle degeneration. Since the retina is extremely sensitive to light, it's crucial to protect them from sun damage.
"People can develop macular degeneration with age, and using sunglasses may protect these photoreceptors from UV damage. This prevents vision loss," says Park.
The next reason concerns the eye lens, with Park explaining how not wearing sunglasses may lead to cataracts down the road.
"Everyone eventually will develop clouding of the lens which is what you know as a cataract. Protecting the eye from sunlight may slow the progression of cataracts.
"Lastly, skin cancer on the eyelids is a concern,” Park says. “Protection from sun exposure is recommended to prevent this, particularly in patients with a history of skin cancers.”
It's clear that wearing sunglasses will bring about benefits for both the short-term and long-term. UVA rays help speed up the signs of aging, whereas UVB rays cause skin cancer. So, sunglasses will help protect your eyes from these two ultraviolet waves that can create health problems if your eyes are left unprotected from the sun.
So with that in mind, it's important to know what to look for when buying sunglasses. Park admits that darker lenses are not necessarily better than their lighter counterparts, adding that, "It's not relevant." Instead, focus on sunglasses that have polarized lenses, as they reduce glare. Make sure they are appropriately labeled to protect against broad-spectrum UVA and UVB rays. This is especially important, as not all polarized lenses do so.
So remember- anytime you're about to step out of the house to enjoy the lovely summer weather in the coming months, don't leave without throwing on a pair of sunglasses first. Your eyes- and your eye doctor- will thank you.