The Health Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses from Artisan Optics in Boise Idaho will protect your eyes from damaging UV rays


Here in the U.S., we closely associate sunglasses with the fashion industry. After all, sunglasses are one of America's hottest fashion accessories. That popularity is fueled by icons of the sports and entertainment industries.


At Artisan Optics in Boise Idaho we sell sunglasses that will protect you eyes from the sun and look fashionable will they do.


Historically, America has looked to celebrities to lead the way in fashion trends – and that includes sunglasses . Looking stylish is certainly one reason to wear sunglasses. However, there are tremendous health benefits to wearing sunglasses. That's right. Wearing sunglasses is good for you!


Many of the devastating health conditions caused by UV rays are the result of cumulative exposure, and it is just as important to wear sunglasses on cloudy or overcast days when the sun isn't visible but the UV rays can still cause permanent damage. That's why it is so important for children to begin wearing sunglasses early on. It is estimated that 73% of adults wear sunglasses, while only 58% of these adults have sunglasses for their children; and 27% of adults report never wearing sunglasses at all.


Just like your skin, your eyes are susceptible to damage from over-exposure to the sun and harmful UV rays; and the skin around your eyes is particularly vulnerable. The skin around you eyes and on your eyelids is some of the thinnest and most sensitive on your body, making it more likely to exhibit wrinkles and age spots from excessive exposure to damaging UV rays.


In addition to causing wrinkles and age spots, the sun's UV (ultraviolet) rays can cause devastating, irreversible damage – including conditions for which there is currently no cure. And if you have light colored or blue eyes, take extra precaution against UV exposure. You are more susceptible to UV induced eye conditions than people with darker colored eyes.


Let's take a look at some of the conditions that are either caused by, or worsened by, UV rays:

  • Cataracts: Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye. Contributing to the development of cataracts is the prolonged and long term exposure to UV rays. It is estimated that 20% of cataract cases are caused by extended UV exposure.

  • Glaucoma: UV exposure may worsen the symptoms of glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye condition that can result in blindness.

  • Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration is a condition in which the macula (part of the retina) deteriorates. This results in the loss of the ability to see fine details, blurry vision and eventual vision loss. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

  • Photokeratitis: Photokeratitis is a sunburn of the eye. This condition can be painful, cause blurred vision, light sensitivity, and a gritty sensation of the eye. It can also cause visually disturbing floaters. Photokeratitis can develop after only a few hours of exposure to intense UV rays.

  • Pinguecula: A pinguecula is a non-cancerous growth on the white part of the eye. Both children and adults can develop a pinguecula. Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, especially in dry climates is at risk for developing a pinguecula.

  • Pterygium: A pinguecula can develop into a pterygium. A pterygium (also referred to as surfer's eye) is a growth on the eye itself and caused by long term exposure to the sun's damaging UV rays. A pterygium can be painful and uncomfortable, and may need to be surgically removed.

  • Skin Cancer: Cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes of not at all unusual. In fact, up to 10 percent of all skin cancers are found on the eyelid.


In addition to reducing the risk of developing the health conditions listed above, there are other benefits to wearing sunglasses:

  • Dark adaptation: Many people are unaware that being outdoors for as few as two to three hours in bright sunlight can impede the eyes' ability to quickly adapt to low light conditions – such as indoor light levels or when driving at night.

  • Dry eyes: Sunglasses help protect against dry-eye syndrome by blocking wind and dust. This is especially important in dry or windy climates.

  • Eyestrain and squinting: Not only is squinting detrimental to eyesight, but it can also lead to wrinkles around the eyes. By wearing sunglasses, and reducing the frequency of squinting, the eyes will feel less tired and vision will be clearer.

  • Fewer headaches and migraines: Bright sunlight can be a trigger for a lot of people who experience cluster headaches, frequently occurring headaches or migraines. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce both the intensity and the frequency of these occurrences.

  • Glare reduction: Reduction of glare reduces eyestrain and squinting, while improving clarity of vision. This is especially important while driving.

  • Healing and recovery: For individuals who have had cataract surgery, eyelid repair, LASIK or PRK – sunglasses can protect the eyes and the area surrounding the eyes during recovery.


So, you've made the decision to make wearing sunglasses part of your daily routine and preventative care regimen – but how do you choose the right pair of sunglasses? This can be a daunting task to say the least. Sunglasses are sold everywhere from gas stations to department stores to eye doctors' offices. Not only is there a range is price, there is also a range in quality.


When purchasing sunglasses be sure to look for quality protection. Not all sunglasses are created equal, and it is important to look for quality lenses.:

  • Look for lenses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.

  • Avoid sunglasses that are simply labeled “absorb UV.” Again, you're looking for sunglass lenses that block all UVA and UVB rays.

  • Steer clear of cheap sunglasses. These can actually do more harm than good to your eyes. Most cheap sunglasses are made from pressed plastic. This causes distorted vision when you look side to side. These lenses can induce headaches for some people.

  • Look for sunglasses that have optically quality ground lenses for reduced distortion and provide clearer vision.

  • Dark sunglass lenses don't mean better protection. It's all about the UV protection added to the lenses, not how dark the lens is. With proper UV protection, even clear lenses offer adequate UV protection. A word of caution – the pupil of the eye actually dilates (increases in size) behind dark lenses. This means those cheap sunglasses with dark lenses will actually let more damaging UV rays into the eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all.

  • Look for polarized lenses for the best protection. Polarized sunglass lenses provide optimum UV protection and they reduce glare. Polarized sunglass lenses block reflections, and are the #1 choice to wear while driving. Polarized lenses are also preferred by outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy water sports – from fishing to boating, if you're on the water you'll enjoy polarized lenses.

  • When it comes to the style of sunglass, keep in mind that larger frames and wrap around styles provide better coverage from the sun than do smaller sunglass frames.


If you're new to purchasing quality sunglasses, the best place to start is at a location such as Artisan Optics in Boise, Idaho. You're looking for a location that has both eye doctors on staff as well as professionally trained opticians. You want to work with a professional who can discuss the various levels of UV protection as well as help you choose the lens color that is best suited to your outdoor activities. With so many options, it is important to enlist the help of a sunglass specialist.


Even fashion sunglasses at Artisan Optics in Boise Idaho will protect your eyes from the suns damaging UV rays.

Posted by Artisan Optics at 3/31/2017 4:10:00 PM
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