Sunglasses and Eye Health

Sunglasses and Eye Health

This article was written by David Shuck, and originally published on August 9, 2023 on Heddels. We'd like to say thank you to David and Heddels for the kind permission to republish this article for our journal readers.

If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably using your eyes. Pretty nice, isn’t it? If you’re like me, you probably want to keep your ability to see for a good long while.

One of the best things you can do to keep your peepers peeping is by protecting them from harsh and damaging light, namely the sun, by wearing sunglasses.
In this piece, we’re going to be analyzing the benefits of wearing sunglasses as well as what can happen to your eyes if they get too much solar exposure.

The Sun Giveth, the Sun Taketh Away

The sun is the source of all life in our solar system, but you can have too much of a good thing. In addition to the light of day, the sun’s rays also deliver Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) that we can’t see with our eyes.

Don’t stare too long. Image via Scientific American.

 Don’t stare too long. Image via Scientific American.

Solar UV radiation comes in two forms:

  • UVA – has a longer wavelength and can pass through more materials
  • UVB – has a shorter wavelength and often stops at the surface level

UV and You

It’s known as Ultraviolet light because it’s just beyond visible violet light on the light wavelength spectrum. Don’t worry about UVC, that gets stopped by the Ozone Layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. Image via Spenceler.

What that means for most of your body is that UVB causes surface level problems like sunburns and skin cancers, while UVA can degrade the collagen and elastin deeper in your skin to cause premature signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging.

For your eyes it’s much the same. Your cornea (surface of the eye) takes the brunt of the UVB light. Acute exposure can cause what’s known as photokeratitis. Repeated exposure can also lead to skin cancers on the eyelids.

  • Photokeratitis is basically a sunburn on the cornea (symptoms include pain, redness, blurriness, and sensitivity to light). Photokeratitis can also be caused by reflections on snow, water, and ice—aka “snow blindness”.

Like your skin, UVA light goes much deeper into the eye and can permanently damage its internal structure. Two of the more common problems are macular degeneration and cataracts. Both conditions develop with age, but UVA light causes premature aging and can bring them on much sooner than expected.

  • Macular degeneration is, as stated, the degeneration of the macula, which is the central focussing point at the back of the eye. If you’ve ever had a floating vision spot after looking at a bright light or camera flash, imagine one in the middle of your field of vision that never fades away.
  • A cataract is when the eye’s lens becomes clouded, causing blurry vision and glare around light sources.

Rays, Rays, Go Away

The conditions above are treatable, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and who doesn’t look cooler in sunglasses? Protect your eyes from UV light by keeping it from reaching them in the first place. Wide-brimmed hats help, but the best way is to wear sunglasses.

Not just any sunglasses, though. Effective lenses will filter a good portion of the visible light and glare while also keeping out those harmful UV rays. Cheap sunglasses that don’t block UV can actually be more harmful to your eyes than none at all because they restrict visible light, which forces your pupils open wider and allows more UV light in.

UV Protection from Shinzo Tamura

Sunglasses-and-Eye-Health-with-Shinzo-Tamura-Tennoji-Slate-sunglasses-available-for-$210-($189-with-Heddels+)-at-Shinzo-Tamura.

Always look for brands like Shinzo Tamura, that explicitly state their sunglasses block 99% of UV rays. Most sunglass makers just buy the cheapest lenses they can, Shinzo Tamura’s are all made in-house by their parent company, TALEX, which has been producing them in Japan since 1938.

Their lenses combine the highest level of protection while also balancing natural color, brightness, and contrast for the viewer. TALEX was the world’s first manufacturer of spherical polarized lenses, meaning no distortion.

The Shinzo Tamura Umeda Onyx-HD.

Shinzo Tamura has two lines to choose from: Ultralight, their active collection, which are (you guessed it) super light, durable, and easy to forget you’re wearing them at all. And Classic, that features iconic frame designs of the 1960s and 70s, but are still made of super light and strong nylon instead of the classically heavier and more brittle cellulose acetate.

And if you want the most lens TALEX and Shinzo Tamura have to offer, check out the Onyx HD, which are specifically designed for people with high light sensitivity and provide the highest quality polarized lens experience TALEX can manufacture.

Conclusion

Your eyes are incredibly complex and delicate instruments and the sun can’t wait to fry them. Protect yourself from those UV rays with sunglasses from a reputable maker like Shinzo Tamura so you can keep reading our website, or whatever else it is you do with your eyes.


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