Did you know that blue eyes don’t contain any blue pigment? They appear blue due to how the light reacts with the structures of the iris.
In fact, the top layer of a blue iris doesn't contain any pigment at all. This lack of pigment is the reason that blue-eyed people may be more sensitive to bright light and have a greater need to wear sunglasses than their brown-eyed counterparts.
Why Do Your Eyes Need Sun Protection?
Eyes of all colors need shielding from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to UV light can contribute to the formation of short-term and long-term eye conditions such as corneal sunburn and macular degeneration.
That’s why it’s so important to choose high-quality sunwear with 100% UV blocking lenses, and to throw on a sun hat for an added layer of protection.
UV protection is important for individuals of all ages—especially children—who are more susceptible than adults to the sun’s harmful rays, and tend to spend more time outdoors. It is estimated that up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before the age of 18.
Why are Blue Eyes More Sensitive to Light?
Lighter colored eyes like blue, hazel and green have less of a pigment called 'melanin' than brown eyes do.
Melanin helps protect the retina from UV damage and blue light, putting those with blue eyes at a higher risk of developing UV-related eye damage.
If you have blue eyes, you may have experienced this first-hand. Bright light may be uncomfortable or you may want to reach for your shades as soon as you leave the house on a sunny day.
That's why optometrists urge blue-eyed patients to be particularly vigilant about UV protection, so as to mitigate their chances of developing eye disease and other complications.
How We Can Help
Whether you have blue eyes or not, sunglasses are an important part of keeping your eyes healthy for a lifetime.
At Michael L. Smookler, O.D., we'll be happy to advise on the perfect high-quality and protective pair of sunglasses to suit your needs and personal style.
To learn more about the eye care services we offer or to schedule an eye exam, contact Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury today!
#1: Should I wear sunglasses even when it’s not sunny outside?
Yes! You should wear your sunglasses whenever outdoors during the day, even on an overcast, winter day. UV light can pass through clouds and reflect off surfaces like car windows and pavement.
#2: What type of sunglasses are the most suitable for blue eyes?
The most protective sunglasses are wraparound sunglasses that protect the eyes from every angle. You can also opt for photochromic lenses, which offer total UV protection but only become tinted when exposed to outdoor sunlight, and turn clear when you come indoors again. Your optometrist can help you choose the best lens and frame options for your needs and lifestyle.