Sunbathing in the sun without sunglasses is just as dangerous as sunbathing with sunscreen.

Tijn Elferink, health journalist dives into a confusing subject in the section Healthy or Not. Are expensive sunglasses more effective at protecting you than cheaper ones?

The skin and eyes are both damaged by UV radiation from the sun. Elianne Wiersma from the Eye Fund says, “A survey that we did a few decades ago showed that only 7 per cent of the Dutch knew this.” Sunlight can cause a variety of diseases and complaints. “And even blindness.”

Rotterdam Eye Hospital’s Ophthalmologist Tjeerd De Faber distinguishes between short-term and long-term damage. Acute damage can occur even if there is no protection in the sun, snow, or water. According to an ophthalmologist, “The cornea’s outer layer is very sensitive and can burn.” Although it’s usually a quick recovery process, such tanning eyes (or snow eyes) can be very painful.

Long-term damage can be more extensive. “The skin around your eyes is thin and often we don’t apply sunscreen to it. This makes it easy to develop skin tumors. The UV light also accelerates the aging of the lens.

You have cataracts if your lens becomes cloudy. About 3 percent of 65-year olds have cataracts. Nearly all 85-year-olds have them. De Faber says that sunlight is what causes cataracts to develop earlier. This is evident in those who live near the equator and in the mountains. This is also true for certain occupations, such as fishing.

“If you have to put on sunscreen, you also have to wear sunglasses.”

Elianne Wiersma Eye Fund

The solution is easy

Sunglasses are the solution. Wiersma states, “If sunscreen is required, sunglasses are also recommended.” “Especially in shade, as well as on cloudy days.”

De Faber stresses that it is important to remember your children. Children are not permitted to ride the ski lift in the USA without sunglasses. Wiersma acknowledges that it is sometimes hard to make sure children wear their glasses. Unfortunately, they don’t sell this art with it. It is possible to help children pick the glasses.

Here are some tips for choosing the right sunglasses

De Faber says you can find good sunglasses for as little as a few euro. My wife thinks you look silly with those sunglasses. But that’s not her problem. Although expensive glasses look nicer they don’t protect you as well. All glasses sold here in the Netherlands offer adequate protection. Wiersma states that “the color of the glasses doesn’t tell anything about the protection.”

  • Get sunglasses marked “100% UV” or “UV400.” Wiersma says that UV300 darkens less so you can use it in winter.
  • Sunglasses are marked with a CE number, which is followed by a number between 1 and 4. Wiersma: “CE0” means that 20% of the light has been blocked. CE4 blocks approximately 95 percent.
  • Watersports enthusiasts don’t need polarized glasses as a luxury. These glasses reduce glare and reflections. “These glasses are not suitable for driving because they can change road signs’ colors.

Mary in the sun

Non-use of sunglasses does not cause all eye damage. Faber also knows that stupidity plays a part. Without proper protection, watching a solar eclipse can severely damage your retina.

De Faber refers to an epidemic in the ex-Yugoslavia. “A girl said she had seen Mother Mary shining in the sun. They all went up into the mountains to search for Mary in sunlight. They went blindly in hopes of seeing Mary. Sun staring is now very popular. “Looking directly at the sun to have a spiritual experience can be downright dangerous.”

The judgment

You should always wear sunglasses if you are exposed to the sun. This applies even to children. For a few Euros, you can find good sunglasses. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get good sunglasses.



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