Myths vs Truths of Sunglasses Use

Sunglasses are the must-have fashion accessory when you’re outdoors. Whether it’s in the full rays of summer, the dappled light of spring or the changing skies of autumn and winter, a quality pair of sunglasses should be the consistent, stand-out element of your wardrobe. Most people make their decision to buy a new pair of sunglasses based on fashion factors such as brand, colour, style, and choosing the right frames and lenses to match your face shape. But there is also a health-conscious reason behind choosing the right pair of sunglasses. Thankfully, buyers of sunglasses now have access to a wide array of brands that merge a high sense of fashion with fantastic eye health benefits all in one, such as Persol, Oliver Peoples or Ray-Ban Sunglasses. However, there are a lot of myths and differing sunglasses facts when it comes to the health benefits and ways sunglasses can actually protect your eyes. In this extensive guide, we take a look at some of the key sunglasses facts to sort out the truth from the myths.

The Extent of Sun Damage to Your Eyes

The most common cause of sun damage to your eyes is due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Typically known as UV, ultraviolet radiation is invisible to the human eye and is divided into three classifications: A, B and C.

UVA is the most common type of ultraviolet radiation that the human eye is exposed to. UVA penetrates the eye more deeply than the other two types of UV radiation and has the ability to pass through your cornea into the lens and retina inside your eyes.

UVB can also be harmful to your eyes, even though it doesn’t penetrate as far into your eye as UVA. The cornea and lens of your eye absorb most of the UVB radiation it is exposed to.

UVC is the most dangerous of all three UV types, however fortunately it is prevented from reaching us thanks to the ozone layer.

The levels of UVA and UVB that reach us here on earth change throughout the day and year. In the middle of the day, the sunlight’s rays are made up of an estimated 95% UVA and 5% UVB, and approximately 99% UVA and 1% UVB in the early morning and dusk. So what type of damage can UVA and UVB do to your eyes? Both types of UV radiation can cause damage to your eyes in different ways, however prolonged exposure to both UVA and UVB radiation can lead to damage that causes cataracts. UVA is also most often associated with macular degeneration, while UVB rays can lead to eye conditions such as pingueculae and pterygia, which are a type of growth on the eye’s surface that can cause corneal problems and disturbed vision fields. It is important to remember that damage to your eyes happens over many years, known as a cumulative effect. That is why it is so important to ensure children wear appropriate, protective sunglasses from an early age as the risk of eye damage builds up over a long period.

How Much Light Exposure Is Good For You?

One of the most important sunglasses facts to uncover is how much light exposure is actually good for you. While there is no clear scientific evidence to determine the precise amount of time your eyes should be exposed to the sun’s UV rays, the consensus among experts makes it clear that our eyes should be exposed to minimal amounts of UVA and UVB. While sunlight possesses health benefits, from increasing Vitamin B levels to boosting your immune system, the eyes are such delicate and complex organs that they can be easily damaged, especially among children. Preferably, a balance between too little and too much sunlight exposure should be your aim to maintain good eye health.