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Sun's Threats that We Are not Generally Aware Of: Skin Cancer and Eyesight Ailments

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It is estimated that 285 million people are visually impaired. 39 million of them are blind and the other 246 million have low vision (Gardner). There are certain people that are born with eye issues or even blind, others receive their eye issues as age progresses. There are some people who spontaneously have a beach day and run to the drug store to grab a quick purchase of $10 sunglasses. Then there are other people who run to Sunglass Hut and spend $300 on a pair of sunglasses religiously. Sunglasses, which are thought to be simply a style choice, should be considered a health and wellness choice, and the industry should do more to educate people on the links between sunglasses and health. Consumers should be more aware that cheap sunglasses sometimes make claims that they “protect” but they don’t. Cheap sunglasses actually help cause skin cancer in and around the eyes. Cheap sunglasses are actually doing more harm than good because they are made with the cheapest materials. Wearing sunglasses is extremely important but it’s even more important to make sure you know what you are buying and to know that you are not ruining your eyes when doing so.

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Skin cancer’s biggest cause is exposure of the UV rays from the direct sunlight. Another big factor is tanning beds and the UV rays being so close to your skin. The common types of people who receive skin cancer are light colored hair—like blond or red—and light colored eyes (Gardner). 5-10% of skin cancer is formed around the eyes. The sun is reconstructing the eyeball along with deteriorating the skin around it. What I mean by reconstructing is the eyelid is so thin that the sun gets through it and hits nerves and helps progress diseases, cataracts and cancer. There are two cancers that are most commonly found in the eye known as Primary intraocular cancer that starts inside the eyeball and secondary intraocular cancer that starts somewhere else in the body and spreads to the eye. The most common type of cancer that develops within the eyeballs of adults is intraocular melanoma. These are just a few types of cancer in the eye but skin cancer around the eyes is bad. When you have skin cancer around your eyes, they will scrape it off leaving a little scar to begin with to send it out to be tested. When it comes back positive they have to cut your face to remove a ton of skin to make sure there are no tumors attached and stitch it back up. It’s a very painful ugly scar, I would know because I had skin cancer cut out on the back of my leg. On overcast days is when the sun is the strongest because it is trying really hard to shine through the clouds so even on overcast days you should be wearing sunglasses. They make different color lenses for different days and the weather.

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The most popular lens that people go for is the gray lens. Everyone wants the darkest lens possible. Expensive sunglasses don’t come in the darkest lens possible because the darker the lens, the more they are dilating your eyes and the more sunlight is let in to damage the eyeball. Grey is the darkest and blocks out as much light as possible and are to be worn on extremely sunny days. The second lens that is everyone’s favorite is the amber or bronze lens which is more of a dark brown. This is a popular lens because it can be worn in either extreme sun light or over cast cloudy days because it’s soothing. It also seems that this helps enhance certain colors so when you walk inside from outside you don’t have to take them dark, they adjust very well. The third lens that is becoming more popular is the rose lens. It is a dark lens with a hint of pink. This is equivalent to the grey lens but the pink soothes a nerve in the back of your eye to get rid of tension headaches and make visuals more soothing to the eyes. The fourth lens that only certain companies, like Maui Jim, make is a HT lens which is a light greenish yellow lens that is only to be worn in early morning or evening. This is really popular for people who ride motorcycles or golf often. Certain companies like Costa have a light blue or a dark blue lens. This is only a mirror effect that doesn’t change the darkness it is still grey. The difference is shallow or deep-water fishing and helps you see through the water clearer. Drug stores don’t offer this many options which is another reason why investing in some nice sunglasses are worth the money.

Drug store sunglasses are causing more damage to your eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all. The drug store glasses are made with cheap material and extremely dark lenses. Most people want the darkest lenses possible. Those sunglasses normally have UV protected printed on them, but that could only mean one UV ray or just be lying. There are three UV’s, UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA is Ultraviolet A, which are the rays that cause long term skin damage and premature aging, along with wrinkles and sunspots. UVB is Ultraviolet B, which is known for causing sunburn and the cause of most common skin cancers. UVC is Ultraviolet C, which is the deadliest of the rays, but the Ozone layer stops UVC rays from reaching the earth (Banana Boat). It’s important that parents realize that the UV rays aren’t only hurting themselves but their children. Buying cheap sunglasses is great to cover your eyes but are they protecting and still doing as much harm? There are baby sunglasses that range from $20-$70 that are proven to be UVA, UVB, and UVC protected. This is extremely important to prevent eye diseases or distance issues in the near future.

Polarization is when the sunlight hits a flat surface and travels in a uniform horizontal direction causing really dangerous glare (Morgan). Fishermen find this extremely important because there is a ton of glare coming off the water that makes it really hard to see, but certain glasses lets you see into the water and see the fish also. Glares also come off the windshield from driving which is more annoying and headache causing than dangerous. In this article it is stated that people who go outside and play sports are noticing polarization is better for their activities but that actually is false. Polarization is a great factor, but distorts many things like a phone. It also distorts baseballs and golf balls and some other items, causing players to miss the ball. Polarization isn’t always good, so Oakley has designed lenses that are good for sports. They have Prizm golf, baseball, road, track and etc. that are certain lenses designed to enhance the balls or sticks on the ground that are visible to the athletes eyes and they can’t get hurt. A lot of people say they wont wearing anything but polarized glasses because they’re better but that’s really not the case, all they do is take away the glare that you only get from doing certain activities it doesn’t really change the way the lenses look when you’re just hanging out outside. It is also known that polarization makes people nauseous because companies put certain measures of melatonin in the lenses and for some people, like me, it knocks off my equilibrium and makes me so sick to the point where I can’t wear them. It also depends on whether you get the cheap drug store brand of polarization or the expensive. Cheap brands such as Sea Striker’s that cost $40 are dipped in a polarization so when they get wet or cleaned with the lens cleaner the polarization wipes right off. Maui Jim has 9 layers of polarization that are fused together, along with water and scratch resistant and the polarization will never fade and most likely the melatonin levels will not make anyone nauseous.

The “I always lose my sunglasses so I’m not spending $150 on a good pair” excuse is in the trash. All the excuses of spending money on better things are in the trash. Only one set of eyes is given to you that can’t be easily replaced like a limb, so you can gain eye issues or have none. It is so important to protect eyes from UV rays that will ruin your eyes forever or possibly make you blind. Skin cancer is contracted any where and can get into the lymph nodes and spread, even to the eye balls which could cause you to lose vision or have serious issues for the rest of your life. $10 sunglasses sound good at first and like a deal, but after a lifetime of none or the right protection, you will start to lose your eyesight. When money is frivolously spent on silly things like alcohol and cigarettes, is $150 really so bad to help preserve your vision?


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