Why Do We Need to Wear Sunglasses?


The role they play in protecting our eyes from the sun’s rays.

Despite being the perfect accessory, sunglasses have a vital function in protecting our eyes from sun rays/UV light.

They protect our eyes from serious eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye cancer. And in regard to children, this is much more essential.

Adults can block most UV light that enters the eye; however, kids are much more vulnerable.
  • 90% UVA and over 50% of UVB rays reach the eye’s retina in the first year of life!
  • Between 10 and 13 years of age 60% and 25% respectively.
  • Only at the age between 18 and 20 can the lens filter the UV rays.
We typically think of sunglass protection from UVA and UVB rays; however, sunglasses protect against:
  1. Eye strain and squinting, dust and other small particles getting into the eyes
  2. Protect against UV reflection from the sun bouncing off surrounding areas like metal and the ground.

Although you might want to grab the most fabulous pair of sunglasses, it is imperative to ask questions and look at the label. A sunglass label must read,

“100% protection against both UVA and UVB” or “100% protection against UV 400.”

Eating for your eye health is also important. What are the best eye foods?
  • Orange Foods like sweet potatoes and carrots are because these colored foods have vitamin A, and vitamin A is needed for rhodopsin, a pigment in your eye that enables light to be processed in the eye and allows you to see, especially in darkness.
  • Foods that are enriched with lutein and zeaxanthin nutrients; these nutrients may help with preventing macular degeneration and may slow the downtime progression of cataracts. Great examples are eggs and dark leafy greens. 
  • Zinc-rich foods: oysters, beans, nuts, seafood, pumpkin seeds.

Time to head to your farmers market!


dr. heather

PS Another notable mention is that sunglasses protect the eyelids!

Learn more:  Ultraviolet radiation oxidative stress affects eye health PMID: 29603665

Thanks to Unsplash for the image

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