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Cooler Than Me? The 4 Side Effects of Wearing Sunglasses

I never thought I’d say this, but the movie Twilight can actually teach us something about improving our health.

twilight-sparklesHave you noticed in the movies that vampires are typically the ones wearing sunglasses when the daylight comes around? They have a good reason… the sun is KILLING them (or in the case of Twilight making them twinkle like a sequence dress, but who’s worried about the details…)

Now, are you a vampire?

It might be cool if you were, but you’re not.

There is no need for you to fear the sun, and as a matter of fact, a lot of health issues are caused because of an extreme LACK of sunlight that you definitely need to know about.

It’s now proven that a lack of sunlight can lead to osteoporosis, cancer, and depression among other issues.

And the SPF 1 Billion sunscreen we’ve been told to wear has now been proven to be a known carcinogen and actually CAUSES skin cancer.

Most people still have no idea about this, but the research is clear, and it will be common knowledge in the next few decades.

Now, as far as the sun being important for the maintenance of healthy vision, you don’t want to find out decades later that you should have took it easy on popping on the shades every time you went out side.

Here’s 4 important reasons that wearing sunglasses can be dangerous for your health:

1.You need natural sunlight to help regulate your hormones. Your ancestors didn’t wear sunglasses. Not that they didn’t need accessories for their animal skin blouses, but it just wasn’t a matter of necessity.

They didn’t NEED to block the natural light from their eyes. Sure they would avoid the hot midday sun, but humans are not nocturnal creatures, so during the daylight is when we would really thrive.

The sun provides an unreplicable spectrum of light that enhances and maintains numerous processes in your brain.

Sunlight that reaches your eyes stimulates the hypothalamus in your brain, which is connected to the pineal gland. The pineal gland is largely responsible for regulating your sleep/wake cycles via the secretion of melatonin (the good sleep hormone).

The natural contrast of light during the day and night that your body (and eyes) are exposed to helps assure healthy hormonal secretions and healthy sleep. Sunglasses inhibit this process. It’s a simple as that.

2. Less adaptable to light and dark. Your eyes operate like any of the other organs in your body: If you don’t use ’em, you lose ’em.

If your eyes are not consistently exposed to the various array of UV light, then your ability to adapt to light will decline as well as your vision.

3. Eye fatigue. Because your eyes are designed to interact with sunlight, wearing sunglasses for long periods of time can become a significant stress. Your eyes are being forced to operate, perceive, and take in data through an unnatural “tint”. In this way, your eyes are actually being forced to work HARDER than normal. And when your eyes are exposed to Napoleon Dynamite glassesa constant stress like this, they will inherently become fatigued.

And “over-training” your eyes like this is a surefire way to end up with reading glasses thicker than Napoleon Dynamite’s.

4. Sunglasses with improper UV protection can be far worse than not wearing sunglasses at all. In bright sunlight, your eyes will naturally try to protect themselves from too much UV light getting in by shrinking the size of the pupils. But when you artificially create darkness over your eyes with standard sunglasses, your pupils open up WIDE and allow in even more potentially harmful UV light.

So try to avoid wearing shades in the sun just for the sake of fashion. If you’re going to wear them for temporary eye protection, then make sure that they are truly UV protective. This can be especially helpful if you do any snow-based winter sports to help you avoid “sunburn of the eye”.

And if you just think you’re cooler than me and everyone else, wearing UV protective sunglasses will give you a safer way to rock your shades.

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Nutrition also plays a huge role in how our eyes adapt to UV exposure (just like it does in the way our skin ages). It’s really important to eat a wide variety of vision friendly nutrition and have healthy lifestyle practices to maintain your vision for many years to come.

This will save you a ton on expensive glasses (prescription and otherwise) and help contribute to your health and longevity overall.

Companies are well trained at getting us to buy stuff that we don’t really need. And if you can start a trend with fear, then you’ve got a HUGE fortune on your hands.

Now look, I’m not saying that sunglasses are “bad”, and I’m definitely not saying they aren’t “bad-ass”. What I am saying is that you need to be very aware of the time under stress that your eyes are exposed to because of the sunglasses. It is an abnormal thing, no where in nature is this behavior seen, and you just need to be contentious about not wearing them too often.

If your future’s so bright that you have to wear shades, I get it. Just keep it in balance and remember, if you’re not planning on being one of the undead, please take it easy on the sunglasses.

I want to hear from you. Are you a sunglasses(aholic)? Or if you’ve got anything to say about this article please share in the comments below.

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  1. I’ve been reading the Hebrew Scriptures for 10-years and the prophets were sheep herders smack in the desert with the sun in their eyes and they lived over 800-years! We have shortened our lives by what we are doing and wearing.

  2. Wearing sunglasses help prevent things like cataracts and blindness. They should be worn even on cloudy days as your eyes can still be damaged on these days.

  3. I dont agree with you sunglasses actually protect your eyes from the things you have mentioned. They help prevent eye problems that can lead to blindness. It is worth protecting your eyes to help prevent things like blindness and cataracts.

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  5. I’m so grateful to find this article!! I’m 68 and started wearing reading glasses at about 40. Always a fan of sunglasses, can’t leave home without them. Every year a new glasses prescription. Last check up the doctor declared that my eyes has cataracts. He gave me the explanation of the pupil closing and opening in reaction to darkness and light and proteing build up as a consequence. And then he emphasized that I adhered to the habit of wearing sunglasses to delay/prevent cataracts growth. But it did not make sense to me to keep wearing sun glasses if my eyes pupil were closing in darkness, then they will be closing in the sunglasses shade all the time. How could that be a good thing, to have your eye’s pupils smaller day and night? I kept wearing my shades but with doubts. Today I made a search to see if there was somebody out there with the same doubt. I had to go through a lot of entries proclaiming the same about the dangers of sunlight exposure and absolute imperative need of wearing sunglasses. Well, I look cool with my shades but I think is cooler to be able to see. Adios sunglasses!!

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  7. This article shows that going to extremes is not the best idea when exposing to UVA and UVB rays. In Florida, it is very difficult to avoid the sun, and while it is not advisable to go like a vampire with sunglasses to be protected, it is a good idea to install window tinting in your car, home or business, making sure that you are filtering the excess light and harmful rays, but taking the benefits of the sun.

  8. Missy, I don’t know if you’ll see this reply (blogs aren’t a great place to get through to people!), but can I recommend you look up Dr. Stasha Gominak? She has some great information which may help you. You can find an interview of her on YouTube, and some of her presentations…and she has a website also. She has worked hard with her patients who have sleep problems, mostly with nutritional solutions (I believe) with some great success.

  9. I have light triggered migraines. All these new led (and fluorescent) lights hurt day and night. I have horrible sleep patterns always have…(50 years). I’m about to get tinted migraine glasses to filter the harmful blue rays. Very frustrated… Now it sounds like according to you tinted (rose FL-41) isn’t good. Ugh…

  10. I live in Florida and work outside, at the beach. I never wear sunglasses. They make me feel like I can’t see properly. I’ve tried expensive, brand name sunglasses, prescription sunglasses, polarized sunglasses, and I just can’t keep them on for more than a few minutes. Everyone keeps telling me that I am going to hurt my eyes if I don’t put sunglasses on.
    I am on the beach, in the sun for 5 hours a day (at most). For someone like me, do you think I am hurting my eyes by not wearing glasses?

  11. I have been wearing sunglasses for years now. It originally started out as a fashion accessory and to hide my blood shot eyes from my grandmother lol. However I eventually purchased a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses with a dark brown tint and added my prescription. I ended up losing all my contacts so I wear my “shades” literally 24/7 everyday for years now. Recently I started noticing that my eyeballs are shrinking and they feel very strained. I also am experiencing discomfort in my brain as well. I have worn them so much to the point that it’s uncomfortable to not have them on. I never realized or even thought that this could potentially have a negative affect on my eyes, but it makes sense. I’m not sure if this is reversible or not but I need help.

  12. I am old enough to want to avoid cataracts or at least try.
    Our ancestors dis not live nearly as long as we do now. An addtional four decades of UV might be very bad for our skin and eyes.
    Trying to be as healthy as possible is great though. Anything you can do to need drs less is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

  13. Hi Shawn
    Just wondering RE exposure to sunlight do you mean direct sun on your eyes kind of thing? Or just that we can sit in the shade and stare out at the world without shades? Any extra benefit to the sun gazing the commenter above refers to? Would sun gazing at midday for example be harmful given its pretty hardcore then?
    Also slightly off topic but could you write a post or talk about the pineal gland specifically? I know there’s a lot unknown about it but what have you discovered?
    Discovered you on impact theory and now listen to your podcast – love your work!

  14. Good article. Make sure you give the medical proof of the statements you make. Most (not all) people are wearing sunglasses based on optomotrist or opthamologists suggestions. Medical backup of your statements would make them even more substantial to those people also.

  15. A couple of decades ago I read something about Sir Albert Switzer’s observation that Africans who wore sunglasses got sick more often, and that sunlight stimulates the immune system. I never wear them and rarely get sick. I am 70. I understand now that the skin produces it’s own protection against harmful rays, when the eyes are exposed to sunlight.
    It’s hard to find someone else not devoted to something mankind never had til very recently. Lots of money saved not buying sunscreen either.

  16. Inuits and native americans actually used to make primitive sunglasses by building bone goggles with thin, horizontal slits in them. It was more common in the north because the snow reflects light, which makes it difficult to see while hunting.

Hi Shawn.
Must say i totally get your “side-effects-of-sunglasses” article ~ have been against glasses in genetal myself because sunglasses make it impossible for me to recognize anyone & because every time my mum’s eyes ‘adapted to lenses that improved her vision’ she became less able to see without them and therefore needed stronger lenses at each check-up…
i’m rubbish at recognizing faces even without sunglasses and have hard time seeing bus numbers and eg aisle signs in shops, so i’d like to know what you think about regular glasses ~ if clear lenses increase uv penetration, and eg if glasses for myopia magnify amount of sunlight hitting eyes / increase glare related problems…
I figure polarized lenses would (because they are not clear) make it harder for me to recognize features, but i don’t really know what those lenses do to the shadows on peoples faces; if they remove the shadows then won’t their faces look flatter?
People are annoyed with me for not recognizing / seeing them so i want the safest glasses possible!
Best wishes,

  18. Hi Shaun,
    When should we where sunglasses, if at all, eg when its so bright that we’re squinting like at the beach or on the slopes? Any max time limit we should wear sunnies at any one time?

  19. Found this article after suspecting the reason my eyes have been so sensitive to light recently is due to my always wearing sunglasses, its true.

  20. My neighbor, now 18 years old. Started wearing sunglasses three years ago. All day and night. I think she is mentally ill. Her family allow this. It is so sad. She is cold, has many mental health issues. Hooked on opioids, you name it. She wears a coat in July. She looks crazy. Like a 1980 rapper. Not one Doctor banned these glasses. Cheap sunglasses. Her goal is SSDI. No school, no job. Who will hire someone like her. So sad.

  21. How about pin hole glass? I heard pin hole glasses make our eyes work out. Like camera zooming and zoom out

  22. “I wear my sunglasses at night..” I think Corey Hart had the right idea according to this article!

    Instinctively, I walked barefoot AND avoided wearing sunglasses as often as I could. Do you realize how odd that was for someone in the 80’s and 90’s? That is some of the generation of people who will read this article.

    A time when rappers and U2’s Bono brought fame to the sunglasses look. The fashion tradition skyrocketed the sunglasses market. Then came the Ozone warnings. Though a topic still in debate- there is no doubt another argument for consistent sun protection to your eyes was in play. Let’s not forget wrinkles for the ladies. Despite creams, lotions, and the latest cosmetic surgery “fix-ups” women were still targeted to prevent “crows feet.”

    These couple of examples highlight the generation you speak to. Those who were primped and propped for sun wear now carry on the tradition by purchasing sun glasses for the next generations of youth…and dogs!

    This article here shatters the decades of of myths and madness around the sun glasses tradition. This article validates us who trusted our instincts and wore our sunglasses at night.

    Most importantly Shawn- I love, love, love how you refer to our ancestors. All too often “modern society” disregard our natural state of living for just that reason- if it was something our ancestors did- it’s old, outdated…and we are modern people. HA!HA!. You are showing them a thing or two.

    Your ability to take new scientific evidence and apply it with our roots and have the material be presented as a way to bring our way of seeing, feeling, thinking and BEING up to date is what I think true fitness and wellness is all about. Bless you Shawn for sharing your gift and making the world not a better place..but a WELL place.

  23. Wow!!! This is WHAT I always tell my daughters… It was just my intuition. I am against any glasses.
    Thank you very much, dear Shawn, for really helpful information and knowledge .
    I like to look at the sun in the morning …from 5-8a.m….. Just keep looking for 30 sec or less …. than close eyes, take a break , and repeat it again. Going even further…. I corrected my vision without glasses. :)))))

    1. Thanks, Natasha! And you are definitely taking things to another level with Sun Gazing (something I do time to time myself :-).

  24. What??? I had no idea about this and was always told to wear sun block to keep the sun from burning my skin, plus continue to apply sun block throughout the day. I must have about 12 pairs of sunglasses. I thought if I did not wear sunglasses that the squinting would cause crows feet around my eyes. Vanity, I know. I’m going to the park today and will take the sunglasses off for a hour…baby steps.

    1. Baby steps is all it takes, June! You already know more than most how the media and marketers and make us fear things that have been good for us since the beginning 🙂
      Get your sun on!

    2. Check it out,
      Day 2 walk in the park without sunglasses….HalluYah! I see the light.


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