Wearing the right sunglasses has less to do with style and more to do with eye health. A good pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes from vision-threatening conditions down the road. Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler at the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills explains how sunglasses can prevent certain eye issues.
Sunglasses and Eye Health
The sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays do not usually cause noticeable eye damage right away. Instead, this exposure has a cumulative effect, damaging the conjunctiva, retina, cornea over time. Wearing sunglasses whenever you are outdoors in the daytime, even if it is cloudy, can prevent this long-term damage. That’s one reason kids should be encouraged to wear sunglasses when outside.
Choose sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of both UVA and UVB light. They do not have to be expensive, but they must offer UV protection. Look for a UV rating of at least 400. The ratings are listed on the lenses. Keep in mind that darker lenses do not necessarily mean a higher UV rating. For driving, purchase polarized lenses for glare reduction.
Cataracts, a clouding of the eye, affect most people if they live long enough. Cataract surgery is the most common surgery performed in the U.S., and it enjoys an extremely high success rate. Still, cataracts are not an inevitable part of aging. Wearing sunglasses in your youth to protect your eyes from the sun can prevent cataract formation in later years.
Excessive exposure to UV rays can damage the macula. That’s the part of the eye at the center of the retina responsible for clear, straight-ahead vision. The macula also allows you to see detail.
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in those over 50. There is no cure for the disease, but treatments may delay its progression.
Sunglasses have benefits beyond vision health. Wearing sunglasses minimizes squinting, which can prevent the formation of unsightly crow’s feet and other wrinkles. Larger “wraparound” style sunglasses can protect the area around the eyes that is vulnerable to skin cancer. For further eye and skin protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat along with sunglasses and avoid going outside during the brightest part of the day.
If you would like to know more about how sunglasses can protect you from potential eye problems, contact Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler at the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills and schedule a consultation. After an evaluation, we can determine the best lenses for your needs.