Why Your Sunglasses Are Not Just A Fashion Accessory!
“Look for sunglasses labelled ‘UV 400’ as these secure your eyes from the harmful UV rays by blocking all the light rays up to 400 nanometres wavelength”
When the weather is cool and when sunshine is sought in the winter months, many of us do away with our sunglasses and expose our eyes to harmful radiation, because of the misconception that our eyes need protection from the sun only during the summer months.
However, it is important not to get misled by believing that your eyes do not need protection from the less intense winter sun.
The exposure to UV radiation remains as severe in winter as in the summers. In fact, it may be higher, because while we stay away from the sun as much as we can during the summers, in the winters we like to spend more time in the sun and end up exposing our eyes even more to UV radiation. Thus, it is imperative to understand that sunglasses are not just a summer accessory.
Sun Exposure And Eye Conditions
Thanks to the awareness about the threat of UV radiation to the skin, sunscreen creams and lotions have become essential for most. However, UV radiation poses as much a threat to the eyes, as it does to the skin. Exposure to harmful ultra violet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun does not only cause skin irritation, sun burns and raise the risk of skin cancer, but it is also associated with several eye problems ranging from temporary sunburns in the eye to more permanent damage to the cornea. Long-term problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts are also associated with long-term sun exposure.
Also, photokeratitis is a painful condition caused by exposure to UV radiation and it is similar to having a sun-burned eye. Also known as ultraviolet keratitis, in photokeratitis damage is caused by high intensity UV radiation to the cornea of the eye and the conjunctiva. Most commonly, this condition occurs when the eyes are exposed to sunlight reflected from surfaces of snow, water or sand. When caused by reflection of the sun’s radiation from ice or snow, this condition is also known as snow blindness.
In fact, in cases of extreme exposure to the sun, directly as well as through reflection from the snow, snow blindness may cause temporary vision loss usually lasting 24-48 hours. People involved in high altitude mountain climbing or activities like skiing are therefore, specially advised to wear eye protection. Similarly, if you are spending a lot of time near water or sand surfaces such as a beach, eye protection is a must.
Other conditions associated with UV exposure include pinguecula and pterygium. These conditions are caused by exposure to UVB radiation and lead to non-cancerous but painful growths on the cornea and conjunctiva.
In recent years, research has also highlighted that chronic exposure to the sun contributes to cataracts, which is the condition characterised by clouding of the eyes. At the same time, long-term/continuous UV exposure is also linked to the risk of eye cancers.
Not Just A Fashion Accessory
Most of us tend to think of sunglasses as fashion accessories and not many think about them as health accessories. However, it is important to take the health aspect of sunglasses into account while buying sunglasses as a pair of quality sunglasses is important to protect your precious eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.
Polarized Sunglasses And UV Protection
Protecting your skin and eyes from the harmful UV rays is important because the UV rays plays a prominent role in the development of skin cancer and a majority of diseases occurring worldwide, ts associated with exposure to harmful UV rays.
Thus, while getting sunglasses, make sure it provides an effective UV filter for your eyes and the surrounding skin. The sunglass should provide you protection from 99 to 100 per cent of both UVA and UVB light. Hence, look for sunglasses labelled ‘UV 400’ as these secure your eyes from the harmful UV rays by blocking all the light rays up to 400 nanometres wavelength.
Also, both polarized lenses and anti- reflective coating works effectively to cut down reflected glare. So, those involved in water and snow sports find polarized lenses very helpful. Conclusively, before you decide upon sunglasses, make sure it provides comprehensive protection to your eyes from the radiation that comes from multiple directions and angles.