Sunshine is essential for good health. It helps your body manufacture vitamin D, helps regulate mood, treats fatigue, and supports a healthy immune system.

However, study after study has highlighted the dangers of the sun’s UV rays. As well as increasing your risk for developing skin cancer, overexposure to sunlight and facilitate in vision loss.

Sunshine: a Blinding Risk Factor

Excessive sun exposure is known to increase your risk for two of the leading causes of blindness in the United States: cataracts and macular degeneration.

Cataracts affect approximately 17 percent of Americans over the age of 40 having a cataract in either eye. Additionally, cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the United States, as well as in other developed countries.

While age is one of the largest predictors of cataracts, unprotected exposure to sunlight (think, no sunglasses) has also been strongly connected to cataract formation. In fact, a study from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that people with the most sun exposure had higher grades of cataract.

A similar study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association had similar findings, leading researchers to conclude that no amount of ultraviolet rays from the sun is safe in regard to developing cataracts.

Macular degeneration affects more than 13 million men and women over the age of 50. It is characterized by a dark spot in the middle of the macula, a yellow-hued spot in the middle of the retina that is responsible for central vision and allows you to see fine details.

The manual also works to absorb excess blue and ultraviolet lights, acting as a natural sunblock for the yes. Over time, ultraviolet light takes its toll on the unprotected macula, slowly breaking it down and increasing the risk for vision loss in the form of macular degeneration.

Sunglasses: Simple Sun Protection

Fortunately, the key to protecting your eyes from ultraviolet damage is as simple as wearing sunglasses. While you are on the links, make a commitment to protect your eyes with these three simple tips:

  1. Wear sunglasses whenever you are playing golf (and even just outside in general).
  2. Choose sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection, or UV 400 protection. This means they protect you from both UVA and UVB radiation.
  3. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, be sure they have a 100% UV protective coating to ensure you are not caught unprotected.

How to pick a winning pair

Additionally, transition lenses offer the same 100% UV protection as sunglasses, making them a great option when going from the greens to the clubhouse.

And when it comes to golf specifically, you’ll want to be sure that your glasses enhance both contrast and clarity, support your short game, track the ball down the fairway, and allow you to see your scorecard. Additionally, you’ll want sunglasses that are fitted enough to stay on when you tee off but comfortable enough to last the full round.

Pretty tall order! Fortunately, there are several pairs that meet the criteria.

You only have one pair of eyes. Protect them and your vision on the course and off.