By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
Nearly 90% of all melanomas occur in the skin. Less common melanomas occur in other locations on or inside the body. Furthermore, nearly 5% of all melanoma cases occur in the eyes. The rarer the type of melanoma, the more challenging the treatment, even if a treatment already exists.
Oftentimes, prevention, not treatment, is the best approach to combating melanoma, of any kind. Most melanoma is due to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Thus, preventing or limiting UVR may provide a significant way to prevent melanoma. To prevent melanoma, researchers strongly recommend people wear sunglasses as a successful preventative measure.
Not all sunglasses are equal
It is critical to understand that not all sunglasses are equal. Cheap sunglasses often do not have the protective effect of more expensive sunglasses. However, the pure cost of the sunglasses should not be what drives the purchase of the product. Some designer sunglasses can be too expensive and may not include adequate UVR protection. People should be aware of how to shop for sunglasses, regardless of the time of year.
First, sunglasses should be polarized. Polarized sunglasses act as a filter and allow vertical light to reach the eyes while the polarization omits horizontal rays which are usually extremely bright reflections of UVR.
Second, the sunglasses should have UV protection. A UV protection of 400 is the most ideal as this threshold will block light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. Be sure to note this protection will expire and it is best to consult with the sunglass manufacturer as to when the protection may expire.
In the end, be sure to check with your optometrist and if needed, prescription sunglasses are a great way to block the sun and correct your vision at the same time.
Dhomen, Nathalie, Piyushkumar A. Mundra, and Richard Marais. “Sunglasses to hide behind may also prevent melanoma of the eyes.” British Journal of Cancer (2021): 1-3
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