Sunglasses and Macular Degeneration

Sunglasses and macular degeneration - no big surprise here. Unprotected sun exposure produces free radicals, as does pesticides, car exhaust, cigarette smoke and household cleaners. The right sunglasses can not only protect our eyes, they can also enhance contrast and visibility.

Remember, the health of your eye is also an indicator of the health of the rest of your body. One of the largest contributors to aging is the process of oxidation.

sunglasses and macular degeneration

According to Dr. Michael and Marc Rose, authors of Save Your Sight! : Natural Ways to Prevent and Reverse Macular Degeneration , "An imbalance between free radicals created by oxidation reactions and the antioxidants that neutralize them is one of the common threads of cause and effect this is woven through all the major eye diseases and nearly all of the disabilities and diseases we associate with aging."

Sunglasses as it relates to macular degeneration are especially relevant because the retinal cells and the eye lenses are very vulnerable to the damages of oxidization since they are exposed to ultraviolet light. Sunglasses should block all UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Your glasses should be labeled 100% UV protection. Look for polarized lenses to reduce glare.



An article called Sunlight and the 10-Year Incidence of Age-Related Maculopathy found in Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122:750-757 found that, "participants exposed to the summer sun for more than 5 hours a day during their teens, in their 30s, and at the baseline examination were at a higher risk of developing increased retinal pigment and early age related macular degeneration by 10 years than those exposed less than 2 hours per day during the same periods."

blue blocker sunglasses

However the study also found that those who had the highest summer sun exposure in their teens and 30's but used hats and sunglasses at least half the time had a decreased risk of developing soft drusen and retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation. 

The authors reported that, "Consistent with results from the baseline and 5-year follow-up examinations, significant associations were found between extended exposure to the summer sun and the 10-year incidence of early ARM and increased retinal pigment."

That is why it is so important to protect our eyes with sunglasses that provide 100% UV-A and UV-B protection. The darker the sunglasses, does not necessarily mean that they are better, nor does the fact that some sunglasses are more expensive than others.

Blue Blocker Sunglasses

Blue light is especially damaging to the retina. Blue light waves are wavelengths from 400-500 nanometers and are the waves that give the sky its blue color.

Sunglasses that offer protection from blue light, like the Noir glasses are beneficial. Glasses that are tinted orange or amber block blue light. Other colored tinted lenses lets part of the blue spectrum through.

However, it is not recommended that you drive with blue light glasses.

This type of sunglasses also helps reduce glare and does not make the world darker - so things do appear more visible because of the brightness.

They can be worn as:

wrap around glasses that fit over your regular glasses

regular frame style as your sunglasses

clip ons

You can purchase blue light glasses at your local optical shop or through special catalogs. If you'd like to learn more or see a selection of blue blocker sunglasses click here:

Blue Blocker Sunglasses

FitOver Glasses

Do you hate buying prescription sunglasses? Especially when your prescription changes? Trying to find something more stylish than the oversized glasses?

FITOVERS® are over prescription sunglasses that come in different sizes to fit different glass frames so you don't need to buy the huge over sized ones. They are a much less expensive option.

They offer a variety of styles with reflective lenses so that no one can even tell that you are wearing glasses underneath.

These over prescription sunglasses come in different sizes to fit different glass frames so you don't need to buy the huge over sized frames.

Do more than protect your eyes from UV and blue light. Wear sunglasses that also give you clear vision, enhanced contrast and reduced glare. The FITOVERS® brand of sunglasses were developed in Australia ten years ago. They feature:

1. A fit that is designed to be comfortable and stylish to fit over your prescription eye glasses.

2. State of the art lens technology

A flash mirror treatment reflects light away and is especially helpful in bright light situations. Flash-Reflect™ gives the lenses a glass-like appearance and hides your prescription eyewear.

3. Selection of lens colors or filters

Be sure to pick an amber/yellow lens to block blue light.

4. Wrap around sunglasses

The glasses provided protection from the sides and a brow bar prevents light from coming in at the top as well.

5. Polarized lens blocks glare and reduces eye strain

6. They don't scratch

7. Cost much less than prescription sunglasses
Prescription sunglasses can cost as much as $400, while FITOVERS® range in price from $60-$80.

Read what others are saying about these sunglasses here:

Fitovers Eyewear Polarvue Amber

Cocoon Sunglasses

Cocoon sunglasses are a good option for those with macular degeneration or for those who want to prevent it.

Their glasses provide UV protection from the front, sides and top. The polarized lenses eliminate glare and you can select your lens color. The amber lens blocks blue light and offers better contrast and depth perception. Click here to learn more: Cocoon Sunglasses

Noir Wrap Around Sunglasses

Noir offers wrap around glasses that prevent UV light from entering the sides. The amber lens provide extra protection from the damaging effects of blue light.

High quality lenses mean that images appear sharp and distinct.

NoIR Sunglasses Amber Wraparound Style

Visors and Hats

Another way to protect your eyes, your macula and your skin is by wearing a visor or wide brimmed hat.

Not only will it help protect your eyes from developing macular degeneration and cataracts, it will minimize the glare that interferes with your vision.

Whether it is a hat or a visor, the important thing is to find some type of protection that you are comfortable wearing so that you will want to wear it whether you are out in the garden or golfing with friends. My favorite visor is the no headache one - I can wear it all day and forget I even have it on.

The No Headache Visor

Special Considerations

If you find yourself in any of these circumstances consider the importance and relationship of sunglasses and macular degeneration.

Those who work outdoors such as farmers and construction workers

Those who play outdoors like golfers, runners, tennis players, and beach goers.

Those who are taking photosensitizing drugs such as tranquilizers, diuretics, oral contraceptives, antibiotics, anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs medications.

Those with light colored eyes are even more susceptible to damage from sunlight because they have less melanin, which is a protective factor, in the back of their eyes.

Those in certain light environments. For example, if you work in an environment which is brightly lit with fluorescent light fixtures or if you spend hours in front of a computer terminal.

It is just as important to protect your eyes with sunglasses on a cloudy day as it is on a sunny day.

The most damaging sun rays occur from 10:00am to 4:00 PM.

Unprotected sun exposure produces free radicals which can lead to the development of eye cataracts and age related macular degeneration.

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