You often hear if you are going to go outside that you should put on sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays to prevent skin cancer. Well your eyes should be protected too! Since you can’t put sunscreen on your eyes- put on some sunglasses. Not only do they protect your eyes, but they look good too!
Most people do not realize that you can actually sunburn your eyes, even fewer realize that exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and even cancer. That’s why you have to wear the funny looking goggles in the tanning bed to protect your eyes from the UV rays of the tanning lights. Tanning beds can cause corneal burns, cataracts, and (less commonly) retinal damage.
A common misconception with sunglasses is that they have to be very dark or expensive for designer glasses to be effective, but that is not the case. Make sure when you are selecting your sunglasses to read the tag. Make sure they block at least 99% of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
If they aren’t marked then they do not provide the needed protection, no matter how “cool” or “hot” they look on you. Another feature to consider is that the better they cover your eyes the better they protect them. Wrap around glasses are ideal, even if they do make you look like that “guy on that popular space show.”
Another common misconception is that if you have UV protection contact lenses then you are covered. The fact is that they don’t cover the entire surface of the eye, so they do not afford the protection you need. You still need to wear sunglasses. You should also keep in mind that just because it’s cloudy outside you still need sunglasses, clouds provide ZERO UV protection.
The time of day is also an important factor. Early afternoon and high altitudes can increase UV intensity. Last, but indeed no way least, and this shouldn’t need to be mentioned. Do NOT look directly at the sun as this could cause retinopathy, which is serious damage to the retina and may cause permanent blindness.