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Sun’s out, shades on

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How sunglasses can save your eyes from eye damage

Most people are aware that the sun emits UV radiation, and that this radiation, in excess, can be bad for our skin. In fact, putting on sunblock for yourself and your little ones before going out is a daily routine for many parents living on sunshine-filled countries. After all, sunburn is extremely painful to deal with and more importantly, you want to protect both you and your kids from harmful UV rays which may cause skin cancer.

But did you know, the same UV rays and other radiation from the sun that are bad for your skin are also bad for your eyes?

The dark side of sunlight

The tissues that make up our eyes are some of the most sensitive tissues found in our bodies. In fact, the eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on our face, which makes it more at risk of sunlight damage.

Research has found that UV rays from the sun, which are extremely high in energy, if exposed in excess amounts, may increase the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, among others.

The sun also emits something called high-energy visible light (HEV), probably known to you as blue light – fun fact, it is the same spectrum of light that is emitted from digital devices! HEV light can penetrate deeply into our eyes and cause retinal damage.

UV exposure is cumulative over your lifetime and may negatively affect your eyes as you grow older. In most cases, once eye damage has occurred, it cannot be undone.
Did you know that up to 80 per cent of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV is received before the age of 18? Not only that, children’s eyes are more vulnerable to UV radiation because they have larger pupils (pupils are the black circles at the centre of our eyes) and a more transparent ocular media (the transparent substances of the eye). This is why it is extremely important for parents to ensure that they start protecting their kids’ eyes from the sun since a young age, so that lesser damage is sustained as they grow up.

Sunglasses – a simple way to keep your eyes safe when out and about under the sun

Spending time in the sun is inevitable in countries with a lot of sun exposure like Singapore, but there are ways to ensure that you are protecting both your eyes and your little ones’!
Just like how sunscreen protects the skin from UV rays, sunglasses protect the eyes. Just ensure that the sunglasses are of good quality and are blocking all the harmful UV and HEV rays from the sun.
Also, start wearing hats if you have the chance! Other than being a good fashion accessory, wearing a wide-brimmed hat can reduce the eyes’ exposure to harmful rays by up to 50 percent.

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