Everyone should wear sunglasses. They are fashionable and fun, but they also serve a very important basic purpose in maintaining healthy eyes, which of course leads to better vision. Consider the following benefits:
Eyes are just as vulnerable to damage from the sun's harmful ultraviolet light as skin. A naturally occurring substance within the eye called melanin acts as a partial sun block, but this is lost as people age.
Recent evidence strongly supports the long held belief that exposure to two types of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB rays, contributes to many forms of eye damage. These include the development of pterygia and pengueculae. Pengueculae and pterygia are yellowish, callous-like growths that can give the "white" (sclera) of the eye a yellowish or even red appearance if the growths are inflamed. A Pterygium, by definition, has growth that extends onto the corneal surface. Gritty, dry eyes develop because the growth obstructs natural blinking, which interferes with the even spreading of tear fluid. If a pterygium continues to grow, the shape of the cornea can become so distorted that vision is seriously impaired.
Other destructive consequences of UVA and UVB exposure include cataracts and macular degeneration, which can devastate vision.
Quality sunglasses provide 100% protection from UVA and UVB radiation, and are the very best form of protection from the damage the sun can do.
The sun also produces infrared radiation (IR), which is very different from UV light. While the effect of UV exposure is not apparent until damage has occurred, IR emits heat, which makes skin feel warm and makes eye feel hot and dry. For maximum eye and visual comfort, sunglasses must block at least 75% of infrared radiation. Professional, well manufactured sunglasses meet or exceed this requirement.
Light is necessary for the eye to see color and fine detail, but too much light bleaches out color and blurs detail, much like an overexposed photo. Outdoor light that is too intense causes the eyes to squint in the attempt to block out excessive light. This leads to headaches and eyestrain, and further impedes vision. For optimal visual performance, sunglasses need to block at least 65% of outdoor light.
Sunglasses serve a multitasked purpose. While they are an invaluable protective shield from the sun's harmful rays, they are also a relatively economical means of self-expression. As compared to other fashion accessories, sunglasses provide an instant statement. Because of their affordability, an individual can use different sunglasses to "polish off" a well-planned wardrobe with style and flare.
Sunglasses can be highly specialized, and their styles can reflect this. Shades with polarized lenses are especially useful for water sports and driving, while mirror coated lenses are a must for snow skiing. Wrap style shades provide protection for cycling and activities in sandy or windy environments.
From fanciful to functional, sunglasses are a necessity for everyone.