What You Need to Do Now to Protect Your Eyes Later

Eye CareWhen it comes to vision, we cannot be short-sighted. With a little attention to what we do now, we set ourselves up for better eyesight as we age. With longer, sunnier days ahead for the next several months, there is one particular strategy that needs to be taken now to preserve eyesight for later in life. That strategy is to wear sunglasses.

And You Thought Sunglasses Were Just Fashionable

If you are a fan of sunglasses and have a pair for every outfit, you’re ahead of the game and you may not even realize it. We have largely looked at sunglasses as a fashion accessory. Individuals with lighter-colored eyes may rely on sunglasses to avoid the discomfort of glaring sunshine. Beyond these instances, we can say that people of all ages and eye colors can benefit from adding light-filtering sunglasses to their must-have pieces. Here’s why:

Sunlight is ultraviolet light. A beam of sunshine contains numerous different wavelengths of light. Two that are known to be problematic are UVA and UVB rays. It is UVA and UVB light that is responsible for premature aging of the skin as well as for the higher numbers of skin cancer we are seeing in recent years. These same rays that get absorbed into the skin get absorbed into the eyes, much more so when sunlight is not filtered by sunglasses. When the eyes absorb UV light, they may be affected in ways that lead to potentially serious eye conditions such as:

  • If you are someone who spends time on the water, your eyes absorb some of the most intense light because water reflects rays, making them even brighter. Pterygia, which is fleshy growths on the ocular surface, may result from excessive light exposure. In some cases, these growths can affect vision. Fortunately, they can be removed in a simple procedure. The better option, though, is to prevent them.
  • This is a funny-sounding word that describes a simple problem: a sunburn on the eye. Usually, it is reflected light that causes photokeratitis, a temporary but uncomfortable problem that can be prevented by wearing sunglasses.
  • These growths on the lens of one or both eyes are formed of protein particles that clump together, worsening over time. Sunlight exposure has been stated as one of the contributing factors to a person’s risk for cataracts later in life.
  • Age-related macular degeneration. This potentially serious condition usually affects people over the age of 60. However, studies suggest that the macula at the back of the eye may begin to break down earlier in life when UV exposure occurs frequently.

People of all ages can benefit from wearing a good pair of sunglasses. We offer several styles in our optical shop, but you can also get adequate protection from any sunglasses that filter 100% of the UV rays in sunlight.

Learn more about your eye health. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam in our Chester, NJ office at 908.879.7297.

Posted in: Eye Care

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