We all know the importance of guarding your skin with sunscreen, but what about protecting your eyes on these long, bright summer days? When I think about shielding my peepers with sunglasses, it’s mostly from a style perspective: Can I really pull off those trendy oversize frames? But really, sunglasses should be seen as a health topic.
“We should all be protecting our eyes from both visible light and UV light, throughout our lifetimes, because [sun exposure] can damage structures in the cornea, the lens of the eye and the retina, as well as the skin around the eyes or eyelids,” says Michael Repka, a professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He notes that studies have shown that ultraviolet exposure can result in increased risk for a range of vision-related problems, from heightened sensitivity to light and irritation to cataracts andpossibly macular degeneration and skin cancers on the eyelid.