There’s nothing quite like a warm day as you experience the sun beating down on your face. Before you hop into your car, what do you reach for? I’ll give you a hint, think ’80s pop rock…
“I wear my _______ at night, so I can, so I can.”
The answer is sunglasses, of course. A fashion accessory that instantly elevates any look. Often chosen based on their appearance, protective eyewear has more functional benefits that many forget about. Here are nine reasons to never leave your sunglasses at home on a sunny or even snowy day again.
Protect yourself from skin cancer
That’s right — the skin around your eyes is highly susceptible to UV damage and is highly sensitive to sunlight. Incredibly, up to 10 percent of skin cancers develop on the eyelids, and although only a small portion of cases are deadly, significant tissue damage and blindness can occur.
The Skin Cancer Foundation and eyewear experts recommend sunglasses that offer ample coverage, while ensuring comfort so that you’re more prone to wear them. As for aesthetics, those who have an oval face, square frames are flattering; whereas rounded cat’s-eye frames suit those with a more square-shaped face.
Reduce eye damage from UV rays
From cataracts to macular degeneration, it’s imperative that you protect your retina, lens and all other parts of your eyes from harmful UV rays. A 2014 study, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, found that the sun’s rays increase oxidative stress, influencing the development of cataracts.
Researchers stated that natural antioxidants in the eyes provided little protection against UV rays, reiterating the importance of sunglasses. Sunglasses that block and absorb UV rays are ideal. When investing in a pair of sunglasses, ensure that they block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
Shield your eyes from the elements
Although you may associate sunglasses with hot summer days, snow can be even more damaging to your eyes. In fact, snow reflects 80 percent of UV rays — something that’s referred to as snow blindness. To put it simply, this temporary loss of vision is essentially a sunburned cornea. Sunglasses will also protect your eyes from windburn and blowing sand, reducing symptoms of dry eye.
Experience fewer headaches and migraines
For those who experience migraines, you know that reducing your personal triggers is essential. Although some suffer from migraines when coping with stress or dehydration, others experience painful and severe migraines when exposed to bright light. If you can relate, invest in colored lenses, such as blue-tint sunglasses.
This type of sunglasses will reduce the effects of light or patterns that trigger visual migraines. It’s believed that based on the way the brain perceives color, sunglasses with colored lenses can reduce hyperactivity. Since each case is unique, your optometrist will help you find the best colored lens for your personal needs using a colorimeter.
Driving from one location to the next is the norm — we don’t give it much thought. Based on the number of fatal accidents each year, it’s important to remember that each time you get behind the wheel, you are asking a lot from your eyes. From wet, reflective roads to blinding sunlight, vision can become impaired. Polarized sunglasses can help reduce your risk of a collision based on these problematic contributing factors.
As mentioned, the skin around your eyes is extremely thin and delicate. Not only do sunglasses protect the skin itself from collagen damage and free radical formation, but they also combat wrinkles. Stand in the mirror and pretend that you’re squinting, just as you would when the sun’s in your eyes. See those crow’s-feet? After prolonged exposure to the sun, these will become more defined.
Help beat the effects of jet lag
Yes, you read that correctly — researchers recommend that long-distance travelers should wear sunglasses in order to reduce the effects of jet lag. It’s believed that by altering the light patterns to which you’re exposed, you can adjust to new time zones more effectively.
Within a study conducted for British Airways, researchers examined one thousand passengers and found that passengers recovered faster if they wore sunglasses during their trip. The director of the study noted that our internal body clock is most sensitive at dawn, which is when we can manipulate our exposure to light.
Set an example
Based on a survey conducted by the Vision Council of America, only 50 percent of children own or wear sunglasses. Although most parents are not aware, the lenses in children’s eyes are more transparent than adults, which makes them much more susceptible to eye damage based on UV exposure. Also, 80 percent of an individual’s UV exposure tends to occur before they’re 18 years of age.
Perfect for outdoor activities
When you invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses, they will make outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and fishing more enjoyable. Of course, you will be protecting your eyes, but you will also enhance images and color. If you hike to the top of a cliff, you’ll want to view your surroundings as clear and bright as possible — enhancing both your performance and overall experience.
Krista Hillis is passionate about nutrition, mental health, and sustainable practices. She has her Bachelors in Psychology and Neuroscience and is still active in her research. Studying both the body and mind, she focuses on natural health and balance. Krista enjoys writing based on her ability to inspire others and increase overall awareness.