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Should I wear sunglasses with UV protection?

I've been growing concerned about the effects of UV rays on my skin because I have noticed more sun spots and other signs of damage. However, it occurred to me that UV rays may be affecting my eyes too. I wear sunscreen often, but I don't really like to wear sunglasses. I know that some sunglasses have UV protection in the lenses, but I've never made a point to wear them. How important is it to wear sunglasses with UV protection while, and what can happen to my eyes if I don't wear them?
This is an important discussion to have with your eye doctor, however, in general, if you are wearing sunglasses, they should definitely have UV protection. So good of you to worry about the harmful effects of UV rays on your skin and other areas of your body. Just like your skin, your eyes are subject to the effects of ultra violet radiation, which can lead to long term changes. This is because these rays, like all radiation, can damage the DNA and other microscopic and sub-microscopic architecture of your skin and eyes. In addition, your eyes themselves can develop long term damage because of these changes. Wearing sunglasses helps your eyes to avoid these rays, but only if they have UV protection. If they do not have UV protection, it actually makes the problem worse because the natural protection your eyes have of constricting the pupil is inhibited because of the darkness, and so the rays penetrate more readily. In the absence of sunglasses, you may find that you have to squint more to protect from glare, which can contribute to wrinkles over time. Your eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) can best advise you as to your specific need to use eye protection in different situations, so please speak to your doctor.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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