When we think of fall accessories, the first things that come to mind are warm sweaters, plush scarves, or a snug pair of boots. Here’s another essential item to add to your list: a good quality pair of UV-blocking sunglasses.
But why is it so important to protect your eyes when the sun seems to be hiding behind clouds on most days? While it may not make much sense, you'll get a better understanding by the time you finish reading this article. So let's dive in and explore the 5 reasons you should protect your eyes from the sun in the fall.
Sunglasses: Summer Vs. Fall
The Sun's Position
While we may squint more in the summer, the sunlight’s path to the eyes is more direct in the fall as the sun sits closer to the horizon. This places our eyes at greater risk of overexposure to UV rays.
Irritating symptoms like dry, red, or watery eyes are often due to the season's cool and harsh winds. The colder the air, the stiffer and thicker the eyes’ tear oils (meibum) become. Because thicker meibum doesn't spread as evenly over the surface of the eyes, the tears can’t offer sufficient protection and moisture.
Minimize irritation by shielding the eyes from cool winds with wraparound sunglasses.
Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is problematic year-round, as it can result in serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why it’s important to wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses anytime you're outdoors, no matter the season.
Make sure to sport your sunnies even on cloudy days, as up to 90% of UV rays pass through clouds. Furthermore, outdoor objects like concrete and snow reflect a significant amount of UV rays into the eyes.
Fall’s Dangerous Sun Glare
Because the sun is positioned at a lower angle in the fall, it can produce a brutal glare that poses a danger for driving. Rays of light that reflect off of smooth surfaces like the metal of nearby cars can be so bright to the point of blinding the driver.
You can combat this dangerous glare by wearing polarized sunglasses. These lenses reduce the glare’s harmful effects by filtering out horizontal light waves, such as the ones reflected by a shiny car bumper.
Protection From the Elements
Aside from its drying effects, winds can carry dust, debris, and pollutants that can irritate the delicate areas in and around the eyes. Wear sunglasses to shield and block out irritants and certain allergens that drift in the autumn air.
Looking for Sunglasses Near You?
Here’s the bottom line: you need to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses in the fall and year-round, no matter the season or climate. Investing in a stylish pair of durable, UV-protective sunglasses is — simply-put — a worthwhile investment in your eye health.
So if you’re looking for advice about a new pair of high-quality sunglasses for the fall, with or without prescription lenses, visit University Optometry. If standard sunglass lenses are too dark for you at this time of year, ask us about green or brown tinted lenses; they transmit more light and contrast to the eyes than standard grey tints.
We'll be happy to help you find that perfect pair to protect your eyes, suit your lifestyle needs and enhance your personal style. To learn more, call 650-666-2191 to contact our Palo Alto eye doctor today.