The Eyedolatry 2013 Sunglasses Initiative

9:56 AM

Sunglasses may be one of our favorite summer style statements, but they are really a sophisticated medical device designed for your protection as much as for fashion.  We all know that sunlight exposure can be harmful to the skin and eyes, but do you really know the risks you are taking when you treat sunglasses like an optional fashion statement and don’t wear sun protection?  Sunglasses do a lot more for you than just filter out annoying glare; here’s a look at the reasons your doctor recommends medical grade, 100% UV A and UV B blocking for all outdoor activities:

UV Light Exposure Increases the Risk of Blinding Eye Conditions
Scarring from Macular Degeneration
Did you know that sun exposure has been linked to blinding diseases like Macular Degeneration?  This medical condition causes a loss of central vision, and in addition to genetics and smoking, sun damage is a primary risk factor.  UV light exposure also increases the growth rate of cataracts and growths on the front of the eye like pterygium, which can require surgery to remove.  We all think of macular degeneration and cataracts as being ocular conditions that occur in aging adults, but the sun damage that caused or exacerbated these conditions occurs over a lifetime.  In fact, studies now show us that not only do Americans 18 and younger spend 25% more time than adults in the sun, the structures of the eye offer significantly less protection from sun damage in children than in adults!  As much as 70% more UV light passes through the eye of a child to harm the internal structures than compared to an adult where the ocular structures are more thickened and protecting.  The sunlight your child is exposed to today could mean devastating vision loss when they are your age!

Have you ever had Sunburn on your Eye?
Imagine the pain of sunburn on your skin, and remember that the eye has more nerve endings and is more sensitive than almost any other body part.  Acute sunburn of the eye is a condition called photokeratitis, and not only is it brutally painful, it leaves you with several days’ worth of blurry vision and a vacation cut short by having to stay in bed with a bottle of medicated eye drops.   Sounds like fun right?  What’s more--you can also get sunburn inside the eye! If the internal retinal layer of the eye is exposed to too much sunlight acutely, you can also get an affect similar to a sun-blister where the tissue becomes elevated and swollen around the central vision spot (or macula).  Solar Retinopathy will cause acute damage to vision, but even as the swelling resolves your central vision area may be permanently distorted, causing a lifetime of poor central vision.  Never stare at the sun or look directly into the sun due to these risks!

Megan from For All Things Lovely--our next
Carolina Style Blogger to Be Featured this week!
Sunglasses Protect Not Just the Eye, but the Eyelid Skin from Cancer
Did you know that the eyelid is one of the most common places to find skin cancers?  As high as 10 percent of all skin cancers diagnosed each year are found on the eyelid.   When you are applying sunscreen, we all know to avoid putting it on or near the eyes, leaving this highly susceptible area vulnerable to damage.  To protect this delicate facial skin, look for sunglasses that provide full coverage around the eye socket, or have a wrap.  All this time you thought big sunglasses were just for socialites or grandmothers? In today’s world, sunglasses are the ultimate hybrid for safety and function, all in one stylish package

2013 Eyedolatry Sunglasses Initiative


As an optometrist, I see all of these medical conditions every single day, and I can't help but ask myself, is there something I can do to help?  We all know to wear sunglasses, but do we really know why it is so important?  Get the word out to your friends, family, and acquaintances.  I will be featuring local fashion bloggers all month who are supporting the sunglasses cause, and hopefully inspiring us all to reach for our sunglasses before we head outside!

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