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Sunglasses: Wear them not just for style, but to protect your eyes too

While buying sunglasses, most of us go for style and comfort. It is very important to go check for the UV protective label as well to protect eyes from the harmful effects of sun’s rays.

health and fitness Updated: Oct 13, 2016 12:29 IST
Sunglasses,Eye protection,How to protect eyes from UV rays
Check for UV protective label every time you buy sunglasses. Don't just go for style and comfort. (Shutterstock)

Do you suffer from redness and swelling in the eyes? Do you experience irritation too? Chances are you haven’t been protecting your eyes from sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Overexposure to these rays can result in dangerous health consequences. But there’s a way out. Wear sunglasses to protect your eye and vision.

According to a nationwide survey in the US, one in three adults overlooks sunglasses and as a result 34 percent people have experienced symptoms of prolonged UV exposure such as eye irritation, trouble seeing and red or swollen eyes.

The findings showed that only 31 percent of Americans protect their eyes with sunglasses or other ultraviolet (UV)-protective eyewear every time they go out in the sun. “UV damage to your eyes can start in as little as 15 minutes,” said Justin Bazan, medical adviser to The Vision Council -- the global voice for vision care products and services.

The research showed that even though Americans fear vision loss, taking the protective measure of wearing sunglasses is not a high priority. Only 14 percent are likely to wear sunglasses while watching outdoor sporting events and only 44 percent are likely to wear sunglasses at the beach.

Read: Add bananas to your diet to keep eyes healthy

Elements such as water, grass, concrete and snow can powerfully reflect UV light, which can be virtually as harmful as direct UV, say researchers. (Shutterstock)

In addition, the survey revealed that Americans place comfort (65 percent) and affordability (54 percent) before UV protection (44 percent) when purchasing sunglasses. Parents are more likely to wear shades always or often (56 percent) than their children (29 percent).

Read: Keep your eyes safe in sun

Many adults who rarely or never wear sunglasses (25 percent) report that they skip UV eye protection because they don’t own prescription sunglasses (41 percent).

Millennials (a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) are least likely to protect their vision: 55 percent of people in their 20s never, rarely or only sometimes wear sunglasses.

UV radiation is present throughout the year, on sunny days and cloudy ones, too. Further, elements such as water, grass, concrete and snow can powerfully reflect UV light, which can be virtually as harmful as direct UV, the researchers said.

Read: Here’s how to take care of your eyes

“Many consumers purchase sunglasses based on style and comfort, but when choosing a pair of sunglasses, it’s vital to check the label to make sure lenses are UVA/UVB protective,” added Mike Daley, CEO of The Vision Council.

To mitigate the risks of UV-related eye damage, people should make UV protection a crucial consideration when buying sunglasses and look for lenses and frames that are designed for specific activities and lifestyles.

People should purchase sunglasses only from a reputable source and look for a label on the lens or frame indicating UVA and UVB protection.

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The Vision Council commissioned the VisionWatch Survey in December 2015, surveying 10,279 adults -- 18 and older about their sunglass use and habits, and knowledge about the dangers of UV radiation through an online survey tool.

“By highlighting the cumulative and irreversible damage UV overexposure can cause, we hope to encourage Americans to make UV-eye protection an everyday habit to preserve their eyesight,” the researchers suggested.

First Published: May 05, 2016 12:18 IST