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How Sunglasses Can Help Prevent Migraines Triggered by the Sun —And More!

woman wearing sunglasses outdoors to protect her eyes and prevent migraines

Isn’t it wonderful to finally say goodbye to the winter? The days are increasingly longer and hotter, and the sun’s shining bright again. However, it’s not a reason to celebrate for people who are sensitive to sunlight, or “photophobic.” About 60 per cent of headaches are caused by lights, including the glare of the sun. If you want to enjoy the summer weather without the painful glare, here’s how sunglasses can help.

Do Sunglasses Help with Headaches?

If you have sensitive eyes and suffer from frequent headaches or migraine attacks in the peak of summer, you may already know how sunglasses can save the day by shielding your eyes from the sun. However, not all sunglasses are created equal. You need a good quality pair that can keep out harmful UV rays for ultimate protection.

Why You Need Sunglasses with UV Protection

The sun’s ultraviolet rays, especially UVB rays, burn the skin easily and are just as harmful to your eyes. The lens within your eye helps you focus and is made up of proteins. UVB rays affect these proteins, making it more difficult to change focus. More sun-related eye issues include:

  • Cataracts. Cataracts make the lenses in your eyes go cloudy and can be caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays over many years. Surgery is the only way to treat cataracts.

  • Macular degeneration. The slow breakdown of your eyes’ macula makes you lose your central vision. Like cataracts, the condition can be caused by cumulative UV ray exposure over time.

  • Pterygium and pinguecula. This growth on the clear coating of the whites of your eyes is caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays, dust and wind. In rare cases, the fatty deposit can grow so large that it makes it difficult for you to see. If this happens, you may need surgery to remove it.

  • Photokeratitis. This is a type of sunburn of the eye caused by large amounts of exposure to UV rays in a short period. It’s usually caused by the sun’s rays reflected from water, snow, sand and ice and can damage the cornea’s outer layers. It can even lead to temporary “snow blindness.” Be sure to protect your eyes when you swim outdoors and spend long hours on the beach. It’s also important to protect your eyes from damaging snow glare in the winter.

  • Solar retinopathy. More serious than photokeratitis, solar retinopathy is a permanent sunburn on your retinas that can cause vision loss and blindness. There is no medical treatment for solar retinopathy, which is why you’re told to never look directly into the sun. It’s a condition that some people get when looking at a solar eclipse without proper eye protection.

  • Skin cancer of the eyelid. The skin around your eyes is thinner than the rest of your body and more susceptible to damage and cancerous growths. Intense sun exposure can lead to basal or squamous cell carcinoma. It starts with a little spot or sore on the eyelid and can rapidly develop into skin cancer. Cancer treatments depend on the growth’s size, type, depth and location.

Investing in high-quality sunglasses that block UV rays can help prevent migraine attacks. Our sunglass lenses aim to block harmful rays with wavelengths shorter than 400 nanometers.

4 Ways to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Migraine Sufferers

Choosing the best sunglasses to prevent migraines can induce a headache on its own. That’s why we’ve laid out these simple shopping tips. Here are four things to look for:

  1. UV rating. Dark tints may not necessarily have full UV protection. On the contrary, they may dilate your pupils, allowing more UV rays into your eyes. You need to select eyewear that offers 100 per cent UV protection from both UVA and UVB.

  2. Good fit. UV rays can filter in from the gap around your sunglasses. Get a pair that fits well and feels comfortable. Consider larger frames for maximum eye protection.

  3. Polarized lenses. This type of lens helps block out the sharp glare from scattered sunlight, which is useful for activities on water or snow.

  4. Consistent tint. Quality lenses will have a uniform tint and should perfectly match each other.

Finally, sunglasses that wrap around your face better protect your eyes against wind and peripheral UV rays coming from the side.

Other Benefits of High-Quality Sunglasses

We’ve already answered the question, “Can sunglasses help with migraines?” Besides reducing the likelihood of migraines and preventing certain serious eye diseases, investing in high-quality sunglasses has many other benefits:

  • Sunglasses protect your eyes from wind and debris when you’re enjoying nature activities or working outdoors.

  • They reduce solar glare so you experience less eye strain and squinting, which also prevents aging and the formation of wrinkle lines around your eyes over time. Solar glare can also impede your ability to drive, especially if you’re heading in the direction of the sun.

  • They decrease your risk of experiencing dry eyes.

  • They can help people recover after corrective vision surgeries such as LASIK. Doctors typically recommend you wear sunglasses as you adjust to your new vision.

If you work outside or participate in physical sports, look for impact-resistant lenses made from polycarbonate.

Quality Sunglasses in Edmonton

Optometrists’ Clinic Inc. is your source for eyewear to protect you and your children against the harmful effects of UV rays. We supply high-quality designer sunglasses and can customize them to your prescription. Before placing your order, ensure you’ve got the right lenses by scheduling your next eye exam at one of our clinics in Edmonton, Westlock and Leduc. Contact us today to get started.


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