This National Sunglasses Day, Remember to Stay Safe and Stylish

sunglasses in the sunshine


This summer, millions of Americans will spend time outside to enjoy the warmer weather, making it even more important to sport shades that protect their eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. According to The Vision Council, an independent authority in the optical industry, 75 percent of Americans are concerned about UV exposure, yet only 31 percent wear sunglasses every time they go outside. Prolonged UV exposure can damage your eyes and lead to more serious vision issues, including cataracts and macular degeneration.

In recognition of National Sunglasses Day on June 27, MyEyeDr. shares some short and long-term issues that can occur when your eyes are not properly protected from the damaging effects of the sun.

  • Photokeratitis, or a sunburn of the eye, can cause short-term eye damage. Symptoms include intense pain, uncontrollable watering and several days of blurry vision. Individuals are more likely to get photokeratisis where the sun is more intense. Know which areas have heightened levels of UV radiation at home and away with The Vision Council’s UV map.
  • Pterygium is a pink, fleshy tissue that forms on the white of the eye, caused by frequent exposure to UV radiation. While this is primarily cosmetic, the excess tissue can lead to dry eye symptoms, such as burning, itching and blurred vision.
  • Cataracts, which affect more than 24 million Americans, cloud the eye’s natural lens and can lead to blindness. The World Health Organization estimates that 20 percent of cataract cases worldwide are linked to prolonged UV exposure. 
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina. Studies have found that high-energy visible (HEV) radiation from the sun, can increase the long-term risk of AMD and even accelerate existing cases.

“Many people do not realize the risks associated with prolonged UV exposure,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, chief medical officer at MyEyeDr. “Schedule your annual eye exam to detect and treat any UV-related damage early. While you’re there, select a pair of quality sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection to keep your eyes protected every time you step outside.”

Choosing the right sunglasses is critical for protection against the sun’s harmful rays, especially in locations that receive high amounts of UV radiation. For the best protection, purchase sunglasses from a reputable provider. Consider special polarized lenses to reduce glare and eye strain in intense sunlight or a fun wraparound style to protect the whole eye and the skin around them.

To make sure you are properly shielding your eyes from the sun, schedule an annual eye exam and consult with your trusted optometrist.