More than a necessary fashion accessory, sunglasses are more than simply looking like suave James Dean, Audrey Hepburn or rock star Bono. In fact, sunglasses are an integral part of promoting eye health.
Doctors have lectured patients for years about harmful UV rays, as these rays damage skin and promote skin cancer. Additionally, these rays are also harmful to the eye, causing lens and cornea related issues. In fact, eye exposure to UV rays dramatically increases the likelihood that patients will develop cataracts, which can ultimately lead to diminished eyesight. UV exposure has also been linked to macular degeneration in the eyes. This condition, while treatable, affects the area of the retina that is responsible for conveying sharp, crisp images. Additional UV eye problems are pingueculum and pterygium. The later occurs when the eye's conjunctiva, essentially the thin layer of tissue that layers over the whites of the eyes, grows into the eye's cornea. The former is when a yellow-colored bump of excess tissue develops in the whites of the eyes.
Sunlight easily bounces off surfaces, especially reflective surfaces such as water, snow, sand and pavement. Photokeratitis, a corneal sunburn, is known to cause snow blindness. Winter sports enthusiasts are especially prone to developing this painful disease, which causes tiny blisters to form on the cornea's surface. While this medical condition will generally resolve itself, it is painful and extremely uncomfortable.
Sunglasses offer much needed protection to delicate skin tissue, especially tissue around the eye. The eyelid is extremely thin, making it exceptionally venerable to skin cancer. Sunglasses help protect against squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas and even melanoma.
Just as with sunscreen, sunglasses can be worn year-round outdoors. Sunglasses are advised even on overcast days, as damaging UV rays are still present in the environment.
It's extremely important for parents to pay attention to their children's eye health. Children should be taught to wear sunglasses early in life, helping protect and reduce their risks of cancers.
When selecting sunglasses, Olympic Eyewear advises looking for sunglasses that meet the following criteria:
- Lenses meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ratings of Z80.3 blocking requirements.
- Lenses block up to 99- or 100-percent UVA and UVB rays.
- Up to UV 400 protection.
Olympic Eyewear carries a wide assortment of wholesale sunglasses, including popular X-Loop sunglasses and Biohazard sunglasses.