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The sun emits ultraviolet radiation that can harm your eyes, especially after prolonged exposure in the sun. Just like your skin is susceptible to sunburn due to overexposure, your eyes and the skin around your eyes, including the eyelids also need protection for the UV rays. That’s where sunglasses come in. A common question that most people ask is, “Is wearing sunglasses going to damage my eyes?” Keep reading to discover the truth about the side effects of wearing sunglasses.

Your Eyes need Sunlight for Good Health

The natural light that comes from the sun does more than just provide daylight. The sun provides a rare spectrum of light that enters your eyes and travels to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain responsible for controlling body temperature, water balance, sleep/wake cycles among many other functions.

Scientists claim that exposure to full-spectrum lights is an effective therapy for treating depression, improving productivity, and reducing infections. The body requires the natural cycles of darkness and light for optimal functioning. Wearing sunglasses inhibits the effectiveness of the natural light, and should only be worn on rare occasions.

Sunglasses Have a Negative Impact on Your Eyes

Your eyes naturally control the amount of sunlight that it’s exposed to. In bright daylight, the eyes shrink the size of the pupils to prevent too much UV light from getting in. When you wear sunglasses, they filter the bright light, hence the light reaching your eyes becomes darker. As a result, your pupils open up, and if you’re using fake sunglasses then the harmful UV rays will easily get into your eyes, which are wide open due to the darkness created by the sunglasses. It would be better off going with bare eyes into the sun than wearing sunglasses that don’t offer UV and UVB rays protection.

Sunglasses Can Worsen Photophobia

Light sensitivity or photophobia can cause migraines, headaches, and dry eyes. The best remedy would be to wear sunglasses both indoors and outdoors, right? Well, not exactly. Researchers have found that wearing sunglasses can actually make your condition of light sensitivity worse. According to experts, our bodies are highly adaptable and will react depending to what you expose it to. For instance, if you wash your face too much, it produces more oil to compensate for the oil you’re removing, thus you end up being even more oily. The same applies to our eyes. Remember the blinding stinging light that you feel when you step into the sun after staying in a dark room for a long time? It means your eyes had adapted to the dark and are adjusting to the light. Wearing sunglasses constantly is like staying in the dark. Over time your eyes adapt to this dark environment and become sensitive to the slightest light.

Darker Sunglasses Don’t Mean They’re Better

The common myth that dark sunglasses block out more light is simply not true. What really matters is the UV blocking agents. Getting clear prescription lenses with UV blocking compounds can protect your eyes just as well as sunglasses. Undoubtedly, the dark sunglasses help to cut glare, but to prevent the UV rays from reaching your eyes, you’ll need glasses with sufficient UV protection.

Stress to Your Eyes

By default, your eyes are supposed to interact directly with sunlight. Since the darker shades provide a different light than what the sun provides, your eyes might actually work harder in the ‘tint’ environment. For this reason, wearing sunglasses for longer than is necessary puts your eyes under a lot of stress, causing eye fatigue.

May Affect Your Vision

Exposing your eyes to the darker shades prevents them from getting the nutrients provided by sunlight. With time, the ability of your eyes to adapt to the bright daylight diminishes and this starts to affect your vision.

Conclusion

Admittedly, sunglasses are cool and have their place in keeping our eyes safe from UV rays. But, like everything else, they need to be worn in moderation. You can use them if you’re an athlete who stays out in the sun for too long or if you spend most of your time in large water bodies which tend to reflect more light. On top of that, your choice of sunglasses plays a huge role in determining the level of protection you should expect. While expensive doesn’t always mean quality, cheap is also bad. The main thing to consider when buying sunglasses is UV blocking agents. The color, shape, and design are just preferences. However, you need sunglasses that give you wider coverage (wrap around your eyes) to reduce exposure to solar radiation. Alternatively, get yourself a nice hat to provide shade for your eyes, use sunscreen to prevent your skin from sunburn, and if possible, reduce sun exposure between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.

All images by Pixabay

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