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A man in a park with sunglasses, smiling

1. Lower Your Risk of Eye Diseases

Possibly one of the most important reasons why you should wear sunglasses is because they can help to lower your risk of eye diseases. Research shows that prolonged exposure to the sun increases the risk of cataracts (clouding of the eye’s natural lens) and macular degeneration (a retinal condition that affects the central vision and causes black and dark spots to appear). Additionally, exposure to UV rays can also lead to pterygium (surfer’s eye), benign growths on the surface of the eye that can cause irritation and potentially impair vision.

2. Protect Your Eyes From Photokeratitis

Sunburn isn’t just a skin condition – it can happen to your eyes, too! Sunburn of the eyes, a condition known as photokeratitis, can result in painful symptoms such as burning, itchiness, redness, blurriness and in rare cases, temporary blindness. The best way to help prevent photokeratitis is by wearing sunglasses when you are outdoors.

When buying sunglasses, the most important thing to look for is a label indicating that they block 100% of UV rays. Something you should also look for is a pair that fits your face well and isn’t too loose, so more rays are blocked through the sides.

3. Maintain Youthful-Looking Appearance

According to the World Health Organisation, 90 percent of all visible age markers are caused by sun damage. Since the delicate skin around your eyes is ten times thinner than the skin on your face, exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause your skin to lose elasticity and become thinner due to the breakdown of collagen, resulting in premature skin ageing. Common signs of ageing caused by sun damage include sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles,  as well as the ones that form on the outer corner of your eyes, commonly referred to as ‘crows feet’.

Looking into bright light without glasses often causes us to squint; bunching together the delicate skin around the eyes. Research shows that squinting frequently may also lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The good news is that this premature ageing from sun exposure and squinting is largely preventable — by wearing your sunglasses when you are outdoors or  in bright lighting conditions.

4. Protect Against Skin Cancers

The skin around your eyes is highly susceptible to UV damage and is very sensitive to sunlight. In fact, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation, 10 percent of all skin cancers are found on the eyelid. For this reason, to protect against skin cancers, it is highly recommended that you wear sunglasses that offer ample coverage, while ensuring comfort so that you are more prone to wearing them.

5. Provide Clearer Vision and Drive Safely

Based on the number of fatal road accidents each year, it’s important to remember your sunglasses each time you get behind the wheel. From wet reflective roads to blinding sunlight, glare from the sun can be unbearable and can make driving dangerous. To help with this issue and provide clearer vision, sunglasses with polarized lenses do a great job of shielding you from this glare to give you the clearest vision possible.

6. Safeguard Against Debris and Infection

The wind and dust can carry harmful debris and other irritants that can infect the eyes, while sand can scratch the cornea and cause permanent damage. Additionally, if you play outdoor sports, you are at heightened risk of suffering an eye injury or infection due to the elements.

Helping to protect your eyes from outdoor elements, sunglasses add a layer of protection from wind, dirt, sun and sand.

7. Help Beat the Effects of Jet Lag

According to sleep research experts, sunglasses help to beat the effects of long-haul jet lag. It is believed that by altering the light patterns to which you are exposed, you can adjust to new time zones more effectively. To help adjust your body clocks (circadian rhythm), long distance travellers should wear sunglasses during the latter stages of an overnight flight and during the first couple of hours on the ground.

8. Fewer Headaches and Migraines

Bright sunlight and reflected light can be a trigger for migraines and headaches; in fact, some studies show that up to 60 percent of migraine attacks are triggered by bright light or glare. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce both the frequency and intensity of these painful occurrences.

Even if you are not a headache or migraine sufferer, wearing sunglasses when out in the sun can help to reduce eyestrain and fatigue, meaning that you will be more comfortable and will likely enjoy your time outdoors even more.

Eye Health Tips Eye Health Tips Tuesday, 18 Dec 2018

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