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What Happens When You Don't Wear Sunglasses?

What Happens When You Don't Wear Sunglasses?

Sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement. Wearing sunglasses on a regular basis is a simple way to protect your vision and avoid common eye diseases and conditions.

How the Sun Can Damage Your Eyes

Too much sun is just as bad for your eyes as it is for your skin. When you spend time in the sun without adequate protection, you may be more likely to develop a variety of eye issues, ranging from corneal "sunburns" to cataracts. Eye conditions associated with sun exposure include:

  • Photokeratitis: Photokeratitis occurs when your corneas are exposed to intense sunlight. The condition is particularly common if you spend the day on the beach or on the ski slopes, as both snow and sand intensify the effects of the sun. This sunburn-like condition can cause redness, blurred vision, tearing and sensitivity to light. You might also feel as if there's something stuck in your eyes. Photokeratitis generally only lasts about one or two days but can be very painful.
  • Pterygium: Pterygium, also known as "surfer's eye", can happen to anyone who spends long hours in the sun without wearing appropriate eye protection. The condition causes fleshy, raised bumps to appear on the whites of the eyes. If the condition isn't treated promptly, the growth can cover the cornea, affecting vision, or may even cause astigmatism. Mild cases are treated with medicated drops, while more serious growths may require surgery.
  • Macular Degeneration: Sun exposure may be a factor in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The condition causes a blind spot in the center of your vision and is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 and older, according to the National Eye Institute. Although there is currently no effective treatment for AMD, low vision aides can help you make the most of your usable vision.
  • Cataracts: The sun also plays a role in the formation of a cataract, or cloudy lens. The lens of your eye focuses light rays on your retina and is necessary for clear vision. When it clouds, you may experience blurry or faded vision, halos around lights, double vision, light sensitivity and difficulty driving at night. Cataracts are removed during outpatient surgery when they begin to affect the quality of your life.
  • Cancer: Cancer is another potential unpleasant consequence of sun exposure. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, can affect several parts of your eyes, including the eyelids, iris or choroid, a layer of tissue between the retina and sclera. Common treatments include radiation, thermotherapy, and surgery.

Things to Consider When Shopping for Sunglasses

Fortunately, it's easy to reduce your risk of developing sun-related eye conditions and diseases by wearing sunglasses every day. When you shop for sunglasses, keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Look for Glasses That Offer Maximum Protection. The most effective sunglasses block 99 percent of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays and 95 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, according to the American Optometric Association. Sunglasses don't have to be expensive to be effective. Both inexpensive and costly glasses can provide the same protection from UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose Gray, Green or Amber Lenses for Better Vision. Although lens color doesn't have an impact on ultraviolet ray transmission, it can improve contrast, making it easier to see in sunny weather.
  • Choose Wraparound Styles. You may still experience eye damage if the sun's rays penetrate the sides or top of your sunglasses. Styles that wrap around your face offer the best protection.
  • Make Comfort a Priority. If your sunglasses are uncomfortable, they'll spend more time in their case than on your face. The most comfortable glasses may not necessarily be the most stylish, although manufacturers offer plenty of attractive frames in every price range.
  • Buy a Spare Pair. Sunglasses are one of the most common items collected by lost and found departments. In fact, more than 55 percent of adults lose or break their sunglasses every year, according to The Vision Council. Purchasing a backup pair will help you ensure that you're always protected.

Whether you're concerned about an eye condition, need prescription sunglasses or are due for an exam, we're committed to helping you maintain your vision. Contact us to schedule your next appointment.

Sources:

National Eye Institute: Keep Your Eyes Healthy: Wear Sunglasses

https://nei.nih.gov/hvm/healthy_eyes_glasses

American Optometric Association: Overlooking the Importance of UV Protection: Only 40 Percent of Americans Wear Sunglasses to Safeguard Vision, 5/20/13

https://www.aoa.org/newsroom/uv-overlooking-the-importance-of-uv-protection

American Academy of Ophthalmology: How to choose the Best Sunglasses, 5/1/15

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/top-sunglasses-tips

Skin Cancer Foundation: How Sunlight Damages the Eyes, 12/7/12

https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/for-your-eyes/how-sunlight-damages-the-eyes

National Eye Institute: Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration, 9/15

https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts

The Vision Council: For Millions of Americans, Missing Sunglasses Mean Harmful Exposure to UV, 5/15/12

https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/blog/millions-americans-missing-sunglasses-means-harmful-exposure-uv

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Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I’m definitely going back! “The most thorough eye exam I ever had was at Envision Eyecare. Plus they have a very helpful and professional staff, a beautiful office space, and an great eclectic selection of unique frames to choose from. I’m definitely going back!”"
    Nancy Hyton
  • "Best eye care in Asheville “If you truly want the best eye care in Asheville and it’s surrounding area you need to visit Envision Eye Care. This group of members makes you feel like your family. I had a full check-up and purchased a pair of sunglasses and the entire process was awesome. Just go visit and you will see what I’m talking about.”"
    Scott Finney
  • "When others had failed, Dr. Golson understood “When I first visited Envision, I was skeptical that Dr. Golson would be able to help with my special circumstances. When others had failed, Dr. Golson understood and was very patient working with me to get my prescriptions correct. The staff is exceptional and greets me by name each time I visit their office. I strongly recommend Envision to fill all your needs for eyecare. And they have awesome frames! Thanks guys and gals at Envision.”"
    Donna Koger
  • "Service and genuine concern for your best interests “I went to Dr. Golson and Envision Eye Care for an eye check recently. The office environment is very pleasant and the staff very helpful. Dr. Golson did a very thorough eye exam and was able to allay any fears I had about my visual health. In addition, I felt no pressure to purchase glasses at their facility. If service and genuine concern for your best interests are of value to you I recommend Dr. Golson and his staff at Envision Eye Care!”"
    Lawrence Hines
  • "Great Experience. “Had an eye emergency and they got me right in. Have since used them for my families eye care. Really good experience in every way.”"
    Katherine Dreyer
  • "Finally, an eye doctor who cares! “Great office with the nicest staff in Asheville. So impressed! I don’t have insurance so I wanted to be sure that my money went to a great local business, so glad my husband recommended them!”"
    Dani Magestro
  • "I trust my eyes to Envision Eye Care! “First, when you enter the office, you are greeted like you are the most important, special person in the world. Second, the staff is extremely professional and friendly and knowledgeable. Dr. Larry is patient eye care is phenomenal! The most conscientious, thorough Dr. I have ever been to!”"
    Karen Paradis

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