Sunglasses and Eye Health

By Maddie Millis - April 4, 2022

It's only natural to apply sunscreen on a warm, sunny day in Colorado. We are aiming to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Often many times we focus on protection for our skin, yet we often overlook another area of the body susceptible to damage from the sun- our eyes. It’s just as important to protect the eyes as the same UV rays can sunburn your eyes and even lead to problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium (white tissue growth) on the eyes. 

Cataracts results in blurred vision or glare. It is a condition in which the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. The Cataracts can be slow growing, age - related, or rapid as with a trauma to the eye. The solution is a surgical procedure to remove the cloudy lens and exchange it with a new clear lens called an intraocular lens, IOL for short.

Macular Degeneration 
is the leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60 in the United States. AMD affects the center portion of the retina called the macula, which is responsible for fine detail and central vision. The breakdown or damage to the macula caused by AMD can affect both distance and reading vision. When the macula is not functioning correctly, central vision can be blurred or dark.

Pterygium is a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines your eyelids and covers your eyeball. It usually forms on the side closest to your nose and grows toward the pupil area. You might feel like you have something in your eye. Or it may get red and irritated and require medical or surgical treatment. You might also feel self-conscious because people may ask you about your eye being red all the time.

The American Optometric Association says you should always be wearing your sunglasses anytime you are exposed to UV or blue light, even if it's cloudy outside! For the right protection, you need sunglasses that block 99% of UVB and 95% of UVA light rays. The area most prone to skin cancer on the face is also right around the eyes, so you’ll be protecting your eyes and that delicate part of your skin at the same time.
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