Is it harmful to wear sunglasses all the time? In a word, yes.
For example, if you routinely wear sunglasses in dim indoor environments, everything from your sleep schedule to your eyes’ ability to adapt to light variations could be at risk. While they may look cool, many people don’t realize that sunglasses actually play an important part in maintaining eye health. With that in mind, a common question is whether it’s appropriate to wear sunglasses every day.
Let’s look at how sunglasses protect our eyes and why wearing shades all the time can cause vision and sleep issues:
Is it OK to Wear Sunglasses All the Time?
Depending on the situation, yes, it’s fine to wear sunglasses all the time. Certainly, when you need protection from glare during the daylight hours, it makes sense to wear sunglasses. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to wear a darkly tinted pair to drive at night, but you get the idea.
Some examples of situations and activities where it’s good to wear sunglasses include driving in bright or hazy conditions, hiking, skiing, fishing, golfing, working in the yard, or even lying on the beach or in the garden; in a hammock! If you’re exposed to the sun, you’ll want to protect your eyes, just like you do with your skin when putting on sunblock! Of course, some of the activities just listed do better with certain types of sunglass tints.
How Can Wearing Sunglasses Indoors Hurt Our eyes?
Wearing sunglasses indoors won’t harm your vision, but it can tire your eyes, causing eye fatigue. This can, in turn, cause headaches, blurred vision, and increased light sensitivity. This can be particularly true of dollar-store sunglasses, which may increase the eye strain you experience due to the poor optical quality of the lenses.
Additionally, wearing sunglasses too often will keep your pupils dilated for long periods. This exposes your entire visual system to less light and can reduce your retina’s ability to adjust quickly to brighter light conditions.
People with photophobia, or excessive sensitivity to light, may find some relief by wearing sunglasses indoors, but eye doctors discourage it. Wearing sunglasses with dark lenses can make photophobia worse in the long term. It may also cause people who didn’t previously have issues with light sensitivity to develop the condition.
What are the Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses to Eye Health?
Depending on the activity they’re being used for, sunglasses can help reduce eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. They can also protect from harmful UV light that can damage the retina later in life in the form of macular degeneration or hasten the formation of cataracts. On a cosmetic note, they can also help reduce ‘crow’s feet wrinkles around the sides of your eyes since sunglasses help reduce the need to squint.
Any Problems with Wearing Sunglasses Every Day?
Really, there are no problems at all with wearing sunglasses every day. That doesn’t mean you have to wear them every day. But, if you spend any time outdoors or even get involved in indoor activities such as sports in a brightly lit setting, it’s usually a good idea to bring a pair. Most people feel they help with vision and eye strain, even on heavily overcast or rainy days!
The Best Sunglasses to Wear Every Day
This is subjective, not unlike what color shirt you like to wear. However, most people find gray, amber or brown tints to be very functional for most situations and activities. While all three tints do great in bright conditions, gray tends to work better in brighter light, while amber and brown work better in lower levels.
If you’re a fisherman, you might want to consider wearing a brown-tinted polarized lens to help make finding the fish easier. If you golf, you might want to wear a pair of green-tinted polarized lenses to help you track the ball. If you’re prone to migraines, a rose-tinted pair of sunglasses may help to reduce the prevalence of your headaches significantly.
As you can see from the questions and answers above, it really is OK to wear your sunglasses all day! But use your discretion in making that decision, of course. And unlike the song suggests, it’s probably not a good idea to wear your sunglasses at night, unless you’ve got a foot in the cool camp, of course!
Can Wearing Sunglasses All The Time Interfere With Sleep Cycles?
Absolutely. Our bodies’ sleep and wake cycles are governed by hormones released daily in response to the changing conditions around us. The light-sensitive photoreceptors in our retinas play a vital role in controlling circadian rhythms (physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle).
Light is the principal control of our day to night cycle and influences everything from metabolism to sleep. This means we need exposure to bright daytime light, especially in the morning, to help regulate the quality of our sleep.
Wearing sunglasses throughout the day blocks that morning light exposure and can disrupt your body’s regular sleep rhythms. It’s a bit like staying in a semi-darkened room at all times. Wait until after 9 or 10 a.m. to don those shades if you want to protect your ability to sleep soundly.
Avoid Sunglasses Without UV Protection
It’s especially important not to wear sunglasses with inadequate UV protection too often, especially outdoors. Wearing shades when you don’t need UV protection can damage your eyesight in the long run.
Sunglasses that lack necessary UV-blocking lenses will cause your pupils to dilate. This increases the amount of harmful solar radiation your eyes are exposed to, increasing your risk of developing eye conditions like cataracts, retinal tissue damage, and macular degeneration.
When shopping for sustainable sunglasses, always look for sunglasses clearly labeled that they are UV 400 or provide 100% protection. You can also have any sunglasses you already own tested by an eye care practitioner to ensure the UV protection from your shades is adequate. Get your best pairs from NomadEywear.