Why Should Sunglasses be Part of your Sun Protection?
Summer is here, and if you haven’t gotten your summer skin care regimen in gear yet, don’t wait another day. “The sun can damage your skin even during the winter months when its furthest from the Earth,” mentions Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified dermatologist and skin cancer expert at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. “But at this time of year, it’s close, and we’re showing more skin than ever, spending more and more time outdoors.”
You’ve heard a lot about the virtues of being diligent with sunscreen, and hopefully, you’re applying at least a shot glass amount to your entire body, and using something a little more delicately formulated for your face. Hat’s are another great idea to shade the fragile skin of your face and neck — not to mention your scalp — and keep them from being tanned or burned.
The Eye of the Beholder
“Not only will squinting give you crow’s-feet and lines around your eyes, the sun’s UV rays can also damage your eyes themselves,” shares Dr. Mamelak. Damage to your eyes can take one of two forms: short-term and long-term damage.
Also called solar retinopathy, short-term damage occurs when you look at the sun without protection and too much ultraviolet light floods the retina. If it weren’t for the fact that looking directly at the sun for too long is actually painful, it would be (and has been) possible for blindness to occur. You may be thinking, who would look directly at the sun, anyway? But millions of people watch sunsets every evening, and they’re looking — you guessed it — directly at the sun!
Exposing your eyes to the sun without full spectrum protection (i.e. UVA/UVB protective lenses) can cause long-term damage including:
- cataracts (cloudy spots on the lens of the eye)
- corneal sunburn
- growths on the eye’s surface
This doesn’t happen overnight, of course. “It’s the result of a lifetime UV exposures,” Dr. Mamelak notes. The effects don’t usually show up until your 50s or later.
“The good news is that you can prevent initial or further damage simply by making a pair of sunglasses part of your total sun protection regimen,” says Dr. Mamelak. And by the way, color is not an indicator of how well a pair of sunglasses work. Darker isn’t better, but a lens that offers complete UVA and UVB protection, is. That said, gray lenses offer the least color distortion, and amber lenses offer better contrast.
If you’ve sustained sun damage on your skin, contact us at Sanova Dermatology so that we can discuss the corrective treatment options for you.