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Why Are Sunglasses Important? Find Out Before You Regret It

Date Published 26.05.2016
Topic Lifestyle Insurance

Why Are Sunglasses Important? Find Out Before You Regret It

Let’s face facts, we can wait a long time for summer here in Ireland…if it arrives at all. When it does get here we want to be prepared to enjoy every…last….minute!


Most of us know the importance of picking up sun cream to protect our skin but what about our eyes? We’ve all squinted in the sun, used our hand to provide shade, is this enough? And we see the sun so rarely, do we really need sunglasses? We find out…


Why are sunglasses important?

Our shades protect our peepers from more than you might expect:


Sun Damage

The Ultraviolet rays (UV) of the sun penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells around our eyes and on our eyelids. Without proper eye protection, long term over-exposure to UV light can burn your eyes and increase the risk of cataracts, corneal damage and age-related macular degeneration which ultimately leads to blindness. Also the retina can be scarred if exposed to strong direct sunlight. It is worth remembering reflected sunlight from snow, water, ice, sand and sunbeds is just as dangerous and can cause permanent damage to our eyes. This means in Ireland the sun doesn’t just damage our eyes during the summer months, it can harm them on the crisp, cold sunny days over winter that we often get.


Sunglasses are more than just a fashionable item


Peri-ocular skin cancer

Another risk of sun damage to the eyes is eyelid and peri-ocular skin cancer which is the skin region near your eye. Eyelid skin cancers are relatively slow growing but they can spread to the lymph nodes in the head and neck. It is crucial therefore that you seek medical advice if you notice any change in the appearance of your skin around your eyes. It is worth remembering skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, 10,000 cases were diagnosed in 2011.


What else can we do to protect our eyes?

To avoid eye damage when going out into sunshine wear a wide-brimmed hat with your sunglasses to reduce the amount of UV rays that reach your face and eyes. Sunglasses are especially important for children, as their ocular lenses are thought to transmit far more light than adults (lenses "yellow" with age).


Protect your eyesight


What to look for in sunglasses?

Good quality sunglasses protect the eyes from 99 – 100% of UV light. The good news is price or the make of the glasses is not important but they must have the CE mark on them to guarantee their effectiveness. Children and those with light coloured irises are most at risk from damage so are in particular need of sunglasses. The arms of the glasses should be wide or wrap - around style for ultimate protection.


Sun damage is a fact and it can cause cancer. But remember often the causes of cancer are unknown. The new AIG Direct Cancer Cover policy will pay you a cash sum of €32,000 with Standard cover or up to €64,000 with Platinum Plus cover to help you fund the financial expense of a diagnosis. Find out more.


The article was written by the MedOnline Medical Team. MedOnline is an interactive web/mobile clinic. The views expressed in this article are those of MedOnline and do not necessarily reflect the views of AIG Europe Limited.


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