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Why Should We Wear Sunglasses?

Aug 13, 2009, 6:37 AM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Every now and then we see people wearing sunglasses, be it on the streets, the market, in cars, on the beaches or every where. But some people seem to form a different opinion about people who wear sunglasses, especially in the Gambia, people think that one is wearing it just for showing off and as a result, people shy away from wearing it. What they fail to put across is that sunglasses can be used for different purposes.

A. Medical reasons which will be discussed later on and B. Fashionable reasons. Sunglasses help you in two important ways. They filter light and they protect your eyes from damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays. Mounting evidence shows that exposure to UV rays can damage your eyes. Long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, or skin cancer around the eyelids. Sunglasses should be worn when you are outdoors so you can protect your eyes. You should choose sunglasses that:

*           reduce glare

*           filter out 99-100% of UV rays

*           protect your eyes

*           are comfortable to wear

*           do not distort colors.

Am I at risk for eye problems caused by UV rays? Everyone is at risk for eye problems caused by the sun. Even children are at risk for damaging their eyes. The risk of sun related eye problems is higher for people who:

*           spend long hours in the sun

*           have had cataract surgery or have certain retina disorders

*           Are on certain medicines, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics, and tranquilizers that increase the eye's sensitivity to light. What type of sunglasses should I get? 
When you buy your sunglasses, look for a label that tells you how much UV radiation the lenses of the sunglasses reflect. Experts say that your sunglasses should block 99-100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays. You should also consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with your sunglasses. This will help to block the sunlight from overhead.

Do children need sunglasses?

Yes. Children are at special risk from the harmful effects of UV, since their eyes do not have the same ability as adults to protect from UV radiation.

Here are some helpful suggestions for choosing sunglasses for children:

*           Check to make sure the sunglasses fit well and are not damaged,

*           Choose sunglasses that fit your child's lifestyle-the lenses should be impact resistant and should not pop out of the frames,

*           Choose lenses that are large enough to shield the eyes from most angles, Find a wide-brimmed hat for your child to wear along with the sunglasses.

 Medical reasons for wearing sunglasses. It's a well known fact that many people nowadays wear sunglasses purely as a fashion statement or a reason to look 'cool' and trendy, but modern sunglasses were invented with another purpose in mind and that was to serve as protection for the eyes against the rays of the sun.

UV Protection
Despite the fact that the sun is more than 90 million miles away from our planet, its rays pose serious health and ocular dangers to us all. Exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by natural sunlight has been associated with all sorts of eye conditions in human beings. Cataracts are a condition that involves the clouding of the lens of the eye. The lens becomes more opaque and is therefore less able to transmit light rays onto the retina. The image on the back of the eye is then blurred. The structure of the lens also changes as the lens becomes less transparent. Although most cataracts develop as people get older, studies have shown a link between overexposure to UV rays from sunlight and the condition. It has also been determined though, that people who wear sunglasses on a regular basis have a decreased incidence of this eye condition. Photokeratitis is another condition associated with the sun. Defined as the burning of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) by UVB rays, it is also known as snowblindness and typically occurs at high altitudes on highly reflective snow, thus people that ski would be more susceptible to getting the condition. Pterygium is a condition which can be defined as a raised, triangular or wedge-shaped growth of conjunctival tissue which grows over the surface of the cornea and can be caused by long-term exposure to sunlight, especially UV rays. Various eye cancers can also be attributed to excessive over exposure to UV rays in sunlight.

Sunglasses Reduce Glare
Obviously, when the sun is shining the brightness and glare interfere with comfortable vision and the ability to see clearly by causing squinting and eye watering. By reflecting the sun's rays, many surfaces create glare- snow, water, windscreens, metal, the list is endless and all are items or conditions that most people will encounter almost daily in their lives. Polarised sunglasses are particularly effective when it comes to reducing glare.

Coming down to the fashion reason, it makes you look trendy, cool and lovely.

It makes you look a little bit sophisticated and business like.

But you might be surprised to know that some people wear sunglasses when they are sad, do not want to be recognized or crying. People do so to avoid other people asking them why they are sad, or crying. I will narrate a personal experience I once had, I was crying and crying because I was sad and when I went out to the streets, I wore my glasses and was very glad that I had them with me. And I was able to cry behind my glasses to my heart's content without any one noticing, but mind, I wasn't wailing, I only allowed the tears to roll down my cheeks.

So from now on readers, I want you to get yourselves sunglasses, you never can say, when you would need it most. So start wearing it today!

Its Bring it On! Here for you. Watch out for another exciting, educating and entertaining read piece next week.