Photo: Rollan Budi on Flickr

Why do you wear sunglasses? According to a 2012 survey, nearly 90% of people believe that protecting their eyes is key to overall health. But most people who choose to wear sunglasses do so only to cut down on the sun’s glare.

There are many more reasons why you should wear sunglasses more often, especially when you’re enjoying the outdoors during the summer. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more about why you should remember to put a pair of sunglasses on.

1. Prevent Sun-Related Health Problems

Our eyes are sensitive. Prolonged exposure to sun can lead to a variety of ailments. Some are simply painful or irritating, others can be deadly serious. But remembering to wear a pair of high quality sunglasses can help to keep you safe from the sun’s damaging rays.

Let me start by defining what I mean by “high-quality” sunglasses. When choosing sunglasses, start by looking for sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. This provides full protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Polarized sunglasses can reduce glare, which is nice if you’re spending a lot of time on the water. Also look for sunglasses that fully cover your eyes. Wrap-around lenses are even better because they block out light and glare from the side, as well as the front.

Now let’s look at diseases and health complications that sunglasses can help protect against.

Skin Cancer

The skin around your eyes, including your eyelids is very sensitive to sunlight. And nearly 10% of skin cancers are found near the eyes. Wearing UV-protective wraparound sunglasses with large lenses can not only protect your eyes, but they’ll protect your skin, too.

Cataracts & Glaucoma

Cataracts are cloudy areas on the eye’s lens. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, prolonged and long term exposure to the sun’s UV rays contribute to cataracts. UV exposure may also worsen the symptoms of Glaucoma, another serious eye condition that can result in blindness. Sunglasses with complete UV protection can help reduce your risk of cataracts or complications from glaucoma.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is a condition where part of the retina, called the macula, deteriorates, causing impaired vision and in many cases, eventual blindness. Certain types of UV radiation can speed up this process, so wearing sunglasses may help protect you.

Pterygium

Also known as surfer’s eye, pterygium is a growth on the eyeball itself. It’s usually not serious, but it can be painful and annoying. Eye drops, steroids and surgery (in advanced cases) are the most common treatments.

But the best treatment, of course, is prevention. Doctors recommend wraparound sunglasses with UV protection, especially on cloudy days when the sun isn’t visible but its UV rays can still damage the eyes.

2. Protection from the Elements

The sun isn’t the only thing that can damage your eyes. Spending time outdoors, puts you at additional risk of damage from sand, dust, wind and even snow.

Snow

You might be surprised to know that spending time in the snow can be very damaging to your eyes. Snow reflects 80% of UV rays from the sun and can cause a condition known as snow blindness, where glare from the sun actually burns the cornea.

If you’re skiing, climbing snowy mountains or spending time in the snow (at any time of year), wear sunglasses. Make sure they cover and protect the bottom of your eyes, because of the reflective nature of the snow.

Photo: Eric Mills on Flickr

Sand

Getting sand in your eyes can be very painful and dangerous. Tiny grains of sand can actually scratch your eye and can cause permanent damage. Sunglasses that fully cover your eyes are a great way to keep sand out.

Wind & Dust

Spending a lot of time in windy, dusty areas can irritate and damage your eyes. Again, the best way to protect yourself is by wearing sunglasses that keep your eyes safe from the elements.

Photo: Edward Musiak on Flickr

3. Promote Healing & Recovery

If you’ve had LASIK or PRK surgery to correct your vision, you should be extra sure to wear sunglasses. Your doctor may recommend a pair for you to wear immediately after the procedure, but continuing to wear sunglasses can protect your eyes as they heal and as you adjust to your new vision.

Corrective surgeries are commonplace, but with improper post-surgical care, there can be complications. Avoid them by following your doctor’s orders and wearing sunglasses to protect your newly restored vision.

If you’ve had cataract surgery, eyelid repair, or another procedure to correct your vision, you’ll also benefit from wearing protective sunglasses. Ask your doctor for his or her opinion and recommendations.

4. You’ll See More & Enjoy the Outdoors More

As important  as protecting your health is, there are more good reasons to wear sunglasses more often. If you’re spending time outdoors, you’ll really benefit from wearing your sunglasses.

Look at this comparison, with the polarized lens on the bottom and non-polarized on top. It’s sharper, there’s less glare, and the colors and contrast are improved:

Photo: Chripell on Flickr

If you enjoy fishing or spending time on the water, with the right sunglasses, you’ll be able to see through the glare on top of the water and notice fish and aquatic life that you never even knew was there!

5. Fewer Headaches & Migraines: You’ll be More Comfortable

Bright sunlight can be a trigger for migraines and bad headaches. Wearing sunglasses can help reduce both the frequency and intensity of these painful occurrences. And even if you’re not a headache or migraine sufferer, wearing sunglasses when out in the sun can help reduce eyestrain and fatigue, meaning that you’ll just be more comfortable and enjoy your time outdoors even more.

6. For Safer Driving & Recovery

Photo: Helvetica Fanatic on Flickr

Do sunglasses help when driving in the rain? This is a hotly debated issue, but the consensus seems to be that in light rain, during the day, the right sunglasses can improve your vision and help you to drive safer. And of course when driving into bright sunlight, sunglasses can definitely help you see better and drive more comfortably. Just make sure you don’t wear sunglasses when driving at night– that’s not recommended and it’s not safe.

7.  Sunglasses are Stylish!

Now the fun reason! Sunglasses come in many colors, shapes, and styles and there’s sure to be (at least!) one that you’ll love. You can even have different sunglasses for different activities or to coordinate with different clothing styles!

I especially love the Audrey sunglasses in Tortoise. They’re versatile and look great anywhere.

The Morrison sunglasses are also a great choice if you’re looking for something with a touch of timeless style.

One of my favorite things to do is match my sunglasses to my protective sun hat. That way I’m extra protected from the sun’s rays and I stay cool and comfortable, all while looking stylish.

No matter what look you’re going for, from classically cool to modern and fashionable, there’s a pair of sunglasses that will make you look and feel great.

You’ll Look Great & You’ll be Protecting Yourself

There you have it. Those are my 7 reasons that you should be wearing sunglasses more often. You’ll not only be keeping your eyes healthy and safe, but you’ll have more fun outdoors and you’ll even look great!

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Based in Portland, Oregon, SUMMERSKIN is a line of stylish women's lifestyle apparel and accessories with sun protection built-in.

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