When the sun comes out it makes everyone feel that little bit better. We tend to be happier, have more energy and are more likely to spend as much time as we can outside. It is also the perfect excuse to break out the sunglasses without looking like a slave to fashion. Thanks to the availability of cheap quality sunglasses many people have several pairs to match their outfits and hairstyles. However, there has been some debate about whether wearing cheap quality sunglasses actually hurt our eyes and whether we would be better wearing none at all if we can’t afford to purchase an expensive pair that provides full protection. So is it true?
Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that it has been scientifically proven that too much sun can hurt our eyes. Over time UV rays can cause, or contribute to, conditions that lead to deteriorated vision such as macular degeneration, cataracts and even cancers. People often find that if they spend too much time in the sun without wearing sunglasses they spend a lot of time squinting, which often leads to a headache, and that they may have trouble seeing clearly. This is because your eyes’ natural reaction to bright light is to contract your pupils to limit the amount of it that penetrates the eyes, resulting in the need to squint.
So you would think that wearing cheap quality sunglasses would be better than nothing at all, right? Well actually no, they are not and here’s why.
Sunglasses are made with a variety of tints, whether they are cheap quality or expensive brands. These tints relieve the harsh brightness that reaches your eyes and allow the pupils to dilate again. The main problem is that although the brightness of the sun’s rays is no longer a problem, the UV factors are. Most cheap quality sunglasses will stop only a small percentage of the harmful UV rays from penetrating the lenses. This coupled with the fact that your pupils are dilated means that your eyes are actually receiving more rays than they would be if you were not wearing any sunglasses at all.
Another problem is that your eyes, and therefore you, are more comfortable because of the tint from the cheap quality sunglasses so they stop sending signals such as squints and headaches. This means that you will spend much longer out in the sun and will do much more damage to your eyes.
As you can see cheap quality sunglasses (in Danish billig solbriller) can and do hurt our eyes, mainly because they do not have the level of UV protection that more expensive sunglasses have as standard. Your eyes are incredibly sensitive and need all of the protection that you can give them so if your sunglasses do not offer 99 or 100% UV protection then you should stop wearing them and purchase a new pair. Don’t worry if you cannot afford to spend huge amounts of money on designer sunglasses though. Often the mid-range brands will provide stylish sunglasses with the protection you need at an affordable price. Beware of cheap quality sunglasses that claim full UV protection; the coatings required on the lenses are costly so there is a good chance that it is a fake or misleading sticker.