When heading outdoors, sunglasses are considered just as important as putting on sunscreen or wearing a hat. From UV protection to glare reduction, and overall eye safety, sunglasses have become much more than simply a fashion statement. As the technology has progressed, sunglasses now encompass a host of everyday necessities, such as:
1) Reduction of Eyestrain and Headaches
The way the eye reacts to bright light, whether from a natural source like the sun or artificial lighting like bright indoor lights, is that the pupil will constrict, or grow smaller, in order to limit the amount of light that is entering in the eye. In darker conditions the pupil will contract, or grow larger, to allow more light to enter the eye.
In very bright conditions the pupil can only constrict so much, with the result that our natural instinct is to squint, to further limit the amount of light entering the eye. This physical action of continual squinting causes lactic acid to build up in the muscles surrounding the eye, which in turn will cause not only eyestrain, but headaches as well.
So simply put, the general use of sunglasses helps to take some of the work off of the pupil, and the surrounding muscles, by shading the eye from the exposure of bright light. With sunglasses doing the majority of the work to prevent light from entering the eye, squinting should not be required, thus resulting in the reduction of eyestrain and headaches.
2) General Eye Safety
Now that we all know the common use of sunglasses, to shade the eyes from bright light and reduce eyestrain, it is time to discuss the many other benefits of sunglasses, specifically when it comes to general eyes safety. The main benefit of wearing sunglasses for general eye safety is that the lenses will help to protect the eyes from wind and wind-strewn debris, which can significantly scratch the cornea, causing permanent damage. Sunglasses will also help to keep the eyes from drying out, and those made with polycarbonate lenses are considered the most durable sunglasses to wear, as the lenses are less likely to break.
3) Glare Reduction
We are now entering the territory for specific features and benefits of sunglasses, such as those made with glare protection. Not all sunglasses are created equally, and those that offer glare reduction will have certain features that other sunglasses do not have, such as Polarized lenses.
Glare is any light reflected off of a flat surface, such as water or snow. Light usually travels in scattered waves, and when it is reflected back at you as glare the light becomes horizontally polarized. Sunglasses that offer glare protection, typically sunglasses made with Polarized lenses, will cancel out the effects of the horizontally polarized light with a vertically polarized coating on the lens.
4) Ultraviolet Protection
The majority of people are aware of the dangers of ultraviolet radiation and the importance of taking precautions against it to avoid things like skin cancer, however many people are unaware that the same applies to the eyes. Extended exposure to ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays, can increase the risk of developing growths on the eyes, such as cancer. This is why wearing a pair of sunglasses that provide UV protection is so important.
In the same vein as sunglasses with glare reduction, not all sunglasses are created equally, and only those that are specifically rated for UV protection will protect the eye from ultraviolet radiation. Some sunglasses can even provide 100% protection from UV rays. So when out shopping for a pair of sunglasses make sure that they are rated for 100% UV protection.
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