Sunglasses Guide

Many people worry about sitting in the sun and protecting their skin from sun damage.  The harmful suns rays that harm the skin can also cause problems for your eyes and therefore eyes also need protection.  The best protection is sunglasses.   

Eyes can be damaged by the sun from, ultraviolet radiation, bright light and blue light.  Sunglasses will protect your eyes from damage and risk of eye problems and conditions.  They will block out UVA and UVB rays, bright light and blue light.  Further, by wearing sunglasses you will notice reduced glare and improved contrast, which is ideal for every day activities such as driving, as they can become safer.  Eyes do not only need protection from damage from the sun directly, but also from reflection from snow, sand and water.

It is important not to assume that the more expensive the sunglasses are, the better the protection.  Labels will show how much protection sunglasses have and include up to 100% protection against UV light. 

There are many online retailers selling sunglasses at very competitive prices.  From designer frames to sunglasses designed for particular sports.  These are all discussed in this guide, together with the importance of eye protection from sun damage, types of lenses, colour of lenses and much more.

Importance of Sunglasses:

UV Protection & Prevention of Eye Damage

  • Cataracts - There is some evidence to suggest that daily exposure to UV radiation in very bright sunlight, over many years, may increase the risk of developing cataracts.  A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye which progresses over time.
  • Potokeratitis - This is a condition, which occurs when the cornea of the eye becomes burned.  But it is essentially only temporary and reversible sunburn of the cornea.  It can be quite painful and requires medical attention.
  • Snow Blindness - Snow blindness is an example of photokeratitis.  It is a temporary visual problem, which is caused by exposure to UV lights rays reflected from snow or ice.  If you have snow blindness you can suffer from intolerance to light, impaired vision and eyes may become inflamed. 
  • Pinguecula - A pinguecula is a yellow coloured area or bump found on the white of the eye.  It is usually on the inner side, where it is closest to the nose.  It is an alteration of normal tissue, which is caused by a deposit of protein and fat or may be caused by chronic eye irritation or sun damage.
  • Pterygium - This is a flesh coloured growth, which affects the cornea.  It can be caused by sunlight and occurs when the conjunctiva grows into the cornea.

Blue Light & Eye Damage

Blue light is visible light, which is in the blue portion of the colour spectrum.  It is 400 - 500nm and is therefore the most energetic portion of the visible light spectrum.  The glare of light reflecting off of snow and water contains blue light.  The human eye cannot focus clearly in blue light and some argue that routine exposure to blue light, over a long period of time, can age the retina and increase the risk of blindness. 

Eye damage from blue light may be particularly problematic for older people and for people who have had cataract surgery.  Some scientists argue blue light may penetrate into tissue and cause cellular damage akin to age related macular degeneration (AMD) and this can lead to blindness, in very extreme cases. Sunglasses can help to combat the damage that blue light can do to the eye.

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