With summer finally starting to creep in after our long Wisconsin winter, people are eager to get outside and start enjoying themselves underneath the open sky. And, when we think of finally being able to break out the summer attire—shorts, sandals, skirts, etc.—many people are also finding themselves digging through their belongings to find a good pair of sunglasses as well. After all, what’s summer without some shades?
Here’s something important to remember about sunglasses—they’re more than just a summertime fashion accessory; they’re an important part of vision care! Popping on some sunglasses and heading outside means protecting your eyes and face from damaging UV rays and all of the long term effects that can come with overexposure.
Blocking out the light
If you own a pair of sunglasses, you probably didn’t buy them with eye protection in mind—you likely bought them so you could see on a blindingly sunny day! Little do people realize, however: these two things go hand in hand. The sunlight that you’re shielding your eyes from and the UV rays that damage your eyes and skin are one in the same.
We can’t see UV rays because they’re invisible to the naked eye, but the damages they cause are very easily noticeable after years and years of exposure. Cataracts are perhaps the most common cause of direct overexposure to UV light and as we age, our vision becomes worse and worse due to these vision complications. Macular degeneration is another type of vision loss that can be attributed to overexposure to UV light and can actually present as late onset blindness in severe cases.
Both of these conditions and others like them mean a lower quality of life in the future and quite a bit of time spent with your optometrist in Oshkosh, WI. In any case, direct UV rays can create long-term vision problems, making eye protection paramount in preserving your sight.
Protection for more than just your eyes
Now, another thing you might not realize is that sunglasses do more than just keep the sun out of your eyes—they keep it off of the area around your eyes as well. Your under eye area and your eyelids are just as important to protect as your eyes because they represent areas where your skin in thinner, allowing higher UV penetration.
If left unprotected, the areas around your eyes can be compromised by constant UV exposure, leading to damage to your eye structure, which can cause drooping or sagging in the future. In some cases, eye cancers can also be attributed to overexposure of UV light around the eyes. This is why it’s important to find sunglasses that are comfortable and properly fitting—so that you receive encompassing protection from your shades.
Picking the right sunglasses
Picking out a quality pair of sunglasses isn’t as easy as going to any old store and just picking up a pair that looks cool—it’s about finding a pair that offers total protection. The best thing you can do is speak with an optometrist in Oshkosh, WI about prescription sunglasses or over the counter brands that may be of a higher quality. Or, at the very least seek out sunglasses that have polarized lenses and slightly larger frames—this will ensure proper protection across the board.