Don’t make the mistake of thinking sunglasses are just style. They’re an essential piece of equipment required to maintain optimal eye health. Considering studies have shown that most people reach 80% of maximum sun exposure by the time they reach age 18, it’s time to finally get yourself a good pair of quality sunglasses – and some high SPF sunscreen, of course. But for the sake of avoiding confusion, let’s focus on the shocking reasons you should be wearing photochromic or polarized sunglasses anytime and every time you’re subjected to UV rays. And yes, that also means on cloudy days. Once Your Eyes Are Damaged, Treatment Becomes Less Effective It’s as simple as that – once your eyes are damaged, there’s no going back. Harmful UV rays damage your eye cells over time and your body naturally replaces them in an effort to reduce the harm. However, as your cells continue to get damaged, the replacement and repairing processes slow down, becoming less effective. In other words, the damage starts to stick and take effect. This can result in serious eye complications and even irreversible diseases. Damaged Eye Cells Can Cause Irreversible Complications Damaged eye cells can result in significantly worse problems that irritation and poor eyesight. In fact, it can lead to serious and irreversible diseases – diseases that can certainly be deterred and even prevented with the proper use of quality sunglasses. One of the most common eye problems associated with damaged eye cells is conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation or swelling of the tissues lining the inner surface of your eyelid, or what is commonly known as “pink eye”. Typically, you might get this eye disease a couple of times throughout your entire life. However, with damaged eye cells, you could be running into chronic conjunctivitis which is not only frustrating but also, quite debilitating. Damaged eye cells can also result in Ophthalmia which is when your cornea becomes inflamed. This often feels like you have grains of sand under your eyelids and it can also lead to vision problems. There are also many long-term problems that can be brought on by poor eye health, such as retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts and many more. So, wear your photochromic or polarized sunglasses and wear them all the time because these eye problems are even worse than they sound. Infrared Heats Your Eye Tissue Infrared light rays, a type of invisible light, aren’t directly harmful to your eyes. However, these UV rays do produce heat which, with prolonged exposure, can burn your eye. What's scary about infrared light is that, often times, you don’t feel the heat or see the intensity in light. So, you’re unaware of the damage you’re subjecting your eyes to. It's like coming inside after a cloudy day, only to notice you got a blazing sun burn, which leads us into the next reason you should wear sunglasses more than you do... Ultraviolet Light Can Burn Right Through Clouds The one thing we all do when it’s a cloudy day is skip out on wearing sunglasses. Unfortunately, this can be our biggest mistake. Ultraviolet light consists of high-energy rays that can penetrate right through clouds. In fact, clouds can only absorb up to 10% of the harmful UV rays, meaning 90% is coming straight down on earth and if you're outside in it without sunglasses, you're subjecting your eyes to an incredible amount of damage. This can lead to many eye conditions, such as cataracts, snow blindness, molecular breakdown and corneal complications. Sun Glare and Reflections Can Be Just as Damaging Just because it’s not sunny out doesn’t mean you should retire your sunglasses. Reflective surfaces have the power to increase the intensity of the light, even on the cloudiest of days. Snow can reflect up to 90% of UV rays. Sand can reflect up to 30% of UV rays and water can reflect up to 20% of UV rays. So, beware of those glares. They can hinder your visual capabilities while also causing fatigue and dazzle – all things you definitely don’t want if you’re swimming, boarding or hiking. The best way to protect your eyes and to maintain optimal eye health is to wear sunglasses anytime you’re outside. Photochromic sunglasses automatically adjust to the situation around you, ensuring optimal protection, sight and comfort. They’re highly recommended as you will never feel the need to remove your sunglasses because they’re too dark on a cloudy day or too light on a sunny day. Photochromic lenses adjust to what you need and all you have to do is wear them. Shop Julbo for stylish photochromic lenses and protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays surrounding you at any given time.