When it comes to staying in the tropics, picking the right pair of sunglasses isn’t just about style. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the leading causes of vision impairment globally are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts, the latter of which can be caused by UV rays. Fortunately, the right pair of sunglasses can protect against 99% of UVA and UVB rays, drastically reducing your chances of radiation damage.
Approximately 80% of vision impairment is easily preventable with proper care. With climate change and global warming becoming a very visible reality, many tropical areas will have longer, sunnier dry spells. If you want to protect against eye-related diseases, then here’s a list of ten reasons why you should be wearing the right pair of shades.
Protection Against UV Rays
While your eyes do have some natural protection against UV rays, a 2014 study shows that the antioxidants in your eyes can’t provide the full defense you need. Harmful UV rays can cause oxidation stress in your eyes, which in turn can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts. Protect yourself from UV rays with sunglasses that guard against at least 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.
Reduces the Chances of Skin Cancer
The skin around our eyes is some of the most sensitive on our body. As such, this area is especially vulnerable to UV damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 10% of skin cancers occur on the eyelids. While only a small percentage of these cases end up being fatal, skin cancers can nonetheless lead to tissue damage and blindness.
Protection Against Glare
While sunny weather can be great if you love the beach, too much of it can be detrimental to your eye health. If you’re the type to spend a lot of time outdoors, wearing sunglasses will be better for you in the long run. Polarized sunglasses can make your experience better, reducing glare and improving color tone for better, brighter days.
Protection Against Small Objects
When you live in a high-density city in the tropics, the warm and humid weather means there can be a large amount of particulates in the air. These particulates can include dust, pollution, and other small matter that can cause harm to your eyes. Wearing the right pair of sunglasses can provide protection against these small particles, while keeping you stylish and hip.
Protection Against Photokeratitis
You’ve probably heard about protecting your skin from harmful UV rays using sunblock, but that’s not the only place sun damage can occur. Sunglasses help prevent photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eye. The American Optometric Association says that photokeratitis can be painful, with some of the symptoms being blurred vision, light sensitivity, and the sensation of having something in your eye.
Reduces Headaches and Migraines
Around 1 in 7 people in the world suffer from migraines. VerywellHealth.com states that one of the most common symptoms for this disease is hypersensitivity to light, also known as photophobia. Sunglasses can help in reducing the frequency and intensity of these headaches.
As any skincare expert will tell you, the skin around your eyes tends to be thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face. With prolonged exposure to sunlight, the collagen in this area gets reduced faster. This and squinting in direct sunlight increases your chance of getting wrinkles, and is easily prevented by wearing sunglasses.
Helps You Drive Safely
Wearing sunglasses during the day can improve your vision and help you drive more safely. It reduces the chances of being blinded by the glare of sunlight, allowing you to react more quickly in case of accidents.
Reduces the Chances of Jet Lag
For long-haul fliers, sunglasses may provide a solution to pesky jet lag. Chris Idzikowski of the Edinburg Sleep Center found that fliers who wore sunglasses on the aircraft and for the first couple of hours on the ground were able to adjust more quickly to a changed timezone.
If you’ve had corrective surgery like LASIK or PRK, you probably went home with a laundry list of do’s and don’t’s. Among the list of recommendations is wearing sunglasses, which can help your eyes heal as they adjust to your brand new, corrected vision.
James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side.
James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He’s always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you’ll join him on his journey.