Summer, sun, sunshine, and how best to protect your eyes. When there is sun and sunshine, our thoughts particularly turn to the summer and tanned, good-looking people, and perhaps also to sufficient sun cream and cool sunglasses. But what about the other seasons, and what kind of sunglasses and lenses do we need to protect the eyes?
Our eyes are just as exposed to sunlight as our skin. Part of our eye, namely the retina, even experiences exposure many times greater! Why? Because our ocular lens concentrates incident light on an area of the retina less than 1 square millimeter in size which deals with 90% of our eyesight every second. This area is called the macula. Whenever we would use protection to prevent sunburn, we should also offer even greater protection to this portion of the eye.
Statistics speak volumes here, as light-induced eye damage is on the increase simply by dint of our longer life expectancy. The most notable form is macular degeneration, by far the most common central cause of blindness in older people. However, melanoma (a form of skin cancer) can also occur in the eyes, as can basal cell carcinoma (another form of skin cancer), to name but a few forms of sun damage.
So what is the best way to protect yourself, on the basis of the latest scientific findings?
According to current knowledge, the sun poses a real threat to our eyes in both summer and winter. 100% protection against UV-A and UV-B rays is only the foundation for this protection. Sun glasses should in fact be polarized to eliminate light scattering. Scattered light only very rarely has a positive effect, such as at night in car headlights, or xenon lights.
The most modern lenses contain a blue light filter. Since blue light has a shorter wavelength, it causes the greatest tissue damage. Blue light blockers which block 100% of the blue portion of light are the best option, but are not permitted for driving in Switzerland. Only blue light filters are therefore suitable for daily use. World War II pilots or older generation glacier hikers have manifested significant macular damage. Infrared filtering lenses are now absolutely essential here.
Your choice of glasses frames is as individual as your sun cream and its sun protection factor. Ensure that the lenses are big enough, and do not underestimate side protection.
Please note that you can choose your own favorite tint without reference to the tips above, without having to forgot the issues discussed.