A study out of Australia shows about one in three people wear sunglasses regularly. We do much worse in the U.S., where it's estimated less than a quarter of us protect our eyes from the sun.
There are so many health reasons to get in the habit of putting on shades. Plus, these days, they're quite the fashion statement.
According to dermatologists, who make a living trying to undo damage caused by the sun, Hollywood is setting a good example for a change!
Dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Moore says, "People often refer to age spots, and a lot of the age spots aren't from age at all. They're from the sun."
Frames that have some wrap-around protect the delicate skin around the eye. It's prone to crow's feet from simply getting older and showing emotion, but the sun isn't helping either.
Dr. Moore warns, "The longer wavelengths, UVA, penetrate even deeper and cause more damage down in here. So if the skin's thin, you're going to get more penetration in here, and this is the layer where all the collagen is. And when you get damage to the collagen, that's when you're going to have more wrinkles."
Vanity aside, one in 12 skin cancers occurs around the eyes. Plus, there's the threat of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Ophthalmologist Dr. Andrew Tharp explains, "Those are conditions that come on over a lifetime, so it's really hard to track down what are the individual causal factors. But one of the things that has been suspected for a long time is ultraviolet light exposure - sunlight."
Polarized sunglasses simply reduce glare, so they're not enough. Look for sunglasses that say they provide at least 98-percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. That's all of them sold by an optician.
When it comes to some of the cheaper brands, manufacturers only spray the protectant on the lenses, but it comes off overtime. So change them frequently or invest in something better.
The Vision Council of America warns that certain drugs increase the eye's sensitivity to light. They include tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers.
And parents should try to encourage their kids to wear sunglasses since they're out in the sun more.
And just like with your skin, researchers think we do 80-percent of the damage to ourselves before we turn 20.
If you wear contacts, you'll get some protection from UV rays, but you need sunglasses, too.