Why sunglasses are more than a fashion accessory

Sold in malls around the world, recommended by optometrists everywhere, and with more weird celebrity titles than a book of Hollywood baby names, a good pair of sunglasses are a vital part of your look. Wherever you live, your sunnies signify an adventurous spirit, active preparedness to take on the world, and (of course!) absolute coolness. But did you know that sunglasses are more than just a chic fashion accessory?

Sunlight stopper

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You’re at the beach, naturally you need to make a few preparations before you hop in. You slather on the sunblock, slip into your swimsuit, and then dive into the water. A little while later you swim back to shore, panting from a good workout, rubbing your red eyes, and dabbing burn cream on all the little spots you missed. Lastly, you put your sunglasses back on, since the sun is still beating down and your eyes sting a bit.

However, your red eye isn’t from being in the water so long, but from something called photokeratitis. This is a word that is even more scary when you break it down in layman’s terms – eyeball sunburn. Ouch! You should have been wearing your sunnies the whole time, because as anyone who has ever accidentally done so has discovered, you can’t really put sunscreen on your eyeballs! Next time, pack a lanyard so that you can keep your sunglasses around in the water, without worrying about them washing away.

Dangerous rays

If eyeball sunburn doesn’t sound terrifying enough, there are other reasons to keep your eyes protected from sunlight at all times. The rays of the sun are essentially a high powered laser, and as anyone with cats can tell you, you should definitely never look directly into one of those. Blindness, some types of cancers, cataracts, retinal damage and more can happen by exposing your eyeballs to the sun’s warm glow.

Also? It doesn’t actually even have to be a warm, summer day for this to happen, either. People in cold climates have to wear sunglasses to avoid “snow blindness” from the rays of light reflecting off of the frozen white ground directly into their eye sockets (essentially, the low-tech version of looking directly into the sun through a regular mirror). Don’t take that risk, friends. Wear your sunglasses during the day…even if it is cloudy and shaded out.

Wrinkle free

As though the risks of cancers and sunburns weren’t enough, you don’t want to catch what is colloquially known as “Florida eyes.” This is the phenomenon where you’ll see people from sunny regions developing crow’s feet and leathery facial skin, even in their early 20s. While a little bit of natural Vitamin D won’t hurt you, overexposure of sensitive tissues – such as those around your eyes – to sunlight will cause premature wrinkling, age spot discoloration, and uncomfortable to painful dryness.

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Most people from those areas hold to the myth that they can build up a resistance or adapt to the beating rays of the sun, but a look into their eyes will quickly disprove that! The simple fact is that you should be protecting your eyes from the sun any time you are outside for more than five minutes. Each prolonged exposure adds up incrementally over time until, suddenly, you look far older than your actual years, with permanently damaged skin.

Sunglasses are a great fashion statement, but they are so much more than that! For the sake of protecting your eyes from unwanted burns, diseases, even blindness – and to avoid uncomfortable dryness or unsightly wrinkles – you should always bring a pair of shades with you wherever you go. You may not notice it immediately, but your future self will thank you for your healthier, prettier eyes!

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