Sometimes when it’s too good to be true, it’s better not to go for it. This is true for sunglasses.
We’ve all forgotten our sunglasses at home when heading to a long weekend of sunbathing on the coast, or in the back of a car seat, or anywhere it is humanly possible to forget these tiny objects — and therefore had the temptation to pick up a pair of cheap sunglasses.
Sometimes you don’t even need to forget them, as you might find the ones street vendors are hawking so very cute.
But yes: fake, cheap sunglasses that don’t block UV rays are worse for your eyes than wearing nothing at all. Let that sink in.
Squinting when you’re out in the sun without shades on your nose is actually a protection mechanism for your eyes. Your pupils constrict into tiny dots of less than a millimetre in diameter to drastically reduce the amount of light getting in.
When you put on sunglasses, it’s like you enter a darkened room — allowing your eyes to relax. Your pupils opens up (a lot!) to let more light in, and allowing you to see properly.
So when you wear glasses that don’t have a proper UV filter, they sure offer some relief and reduce your need to squint, but they allow a much larger quantity of harmful UV rays to enter your eyes. And this additional exposure to UVA and UVB rays can have terrible consequences, as they increase the risk for cataracts, macular degeneration and even melanoma.
We don’t think twice about protecting our body with sun cream so we need to do the same with our eyes, and wear good quality sunglasses.