You slather on SPF 50 to shield your skin from the sun. But what about your naked eyes? In a 2012 survey, less than half of 10,000 Americans polled recognized the health benefits of sunglasses, and 27 percent of respondents reported never wearing them. Yet this simple and stylish accessory* can protect your eyes from a host of conditions caused by ultraviolet rays:
1. Skin Cancer
Up to 10 percent of all skin cancers are found on the eyelid.
The World Health Organization reports that, worldwide, approximately 900,000 people are blind because of cataracts—cloudiness in the lens of the eye—triggered by UV exposure.
3. Macular Degeneration
Over time UV light may play a role in damaging the macula lutea (an area of the eye with millions of light-sensing cells, which allow us to see fine details clearly), potentially leading to blurriness and vision loss.
This abnormal growth of tissue—also called surfer's eye—may progress slowly from either corner across the white part of the eye, possibly leading to inflammation or disturbance of vision.
Essentially a sunburn of the eye, it's temporary (healing within 48 hours) but can be painful, causing blurred vision, light sensitivity, and the sensation of having sand in your eye.
*Just not the $5 pair for sale on the corner. Those can do you more harm than good. Our pupils dilate behind dark lenses, meaning cheap shades will actually let more damaging rays into your eyes than if you weren't wearing any sunglasses at all. Shop for a pair that's designed to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light.
More Summer Health Tips
From the August 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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