Since you live in California and follow informative health blogs like this one, you’re probably already pretty good about making sure you use sunscreen every single time you plan to be out in the sun. But did you know it’s just as important to protect your sensitive eyes from the sun’s rays as well? This summer, please make sure you don’t head outside without your trusty shades… for the good of your eye health.
Summer is a time to have as much fun outdoors as possible… but not without your sunglasses, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In fact, they recently issued a rather sternly-worded warning to those who regularly spend time in the sun without eye protection. As time goes by, more scientific evidence points to the link between UV rays and serious eye problems like cataracts.
Protecting your skin against skin cancer by using sunscreen is great — but slathering on the sunscreen and then walking around with your eyes uncovered is a self-defeating approach. Yes, skin cancer is very bad… but so are cataracts, which can eventually cause complete blindness. What’s more, scientists think that UV rays can cause growths like styes in your eye, as well as eye cancer and macular degeneration (basically, making your vision worse).
Don’t get us wrong: summertime might be the season where most people are hanging out in the great outdoors (and therefore getting lots of sun exposure), but this rule applies 365 days a year. The sun’s UV rays don’t care what month it is, and can cause harm at absolutely any time of year.
Thinking that only expensive, designer sunglasses are going to adequately protect you from harm? Think again — that’s not an excuse. As someone looking to protect their eyes, the main thing you care about is the sunglasses’ UV protection level. A $500 pair of Ray-Bans that offer 400 UV protection are just as good, medically speaking, as a $10 pair of no-name sunglasses that offer 400 UV protection.
Even if you’re a contact lens wearer, there are plenty of solutions. Going swimming without your contacts? Consider investing in prescription sunglasses. Don’t want to deal with that? Just get non-prescription shades that you can throw in your glove compartment when you’re not using them.
Like so many other lifestyle-related health concerns, wearing sunglasses is only going to be a protective measure if you do it regularly. You can’t simply wear them out a couple times and then revert back to your old ways — you’ll need to incorporate them into your lifestyle by reminding yourself that you’re making a serious investment in your future vision. After all, you’ll want to be able to see those grandchildren nice and clearly when you’re older!