Ever feel like you spend half your life squinting? Whether your eyes are sensitive to light or from elements like wind, sand, and snow, you’ve probably become accustomed to bracing yourself before you walk outdoors. You might try squinting, fumbling around your pockets or handbag to find a pair of glasses, or just avoiding the great outdoors altogether.
Sensitive eyes can make it harder for you to enjoy the activities you love and can make clear vision virtually impossible. Thankfully, Stoggles has you covered. We’ve got all the information you need about what’s making your eyes sensitive and how safety glasses can help you get relief and get back in the game.
Anatomy of the (Visible) Part of the Eye
Your eyes are complex, one of the most intricate organs in your body. Sensitivity issues, however, affect the outer, or visible, part of your eye. The structures of the eye that are most normally impacted by sensitivity are the cornea, pupil, sclera, and conjunctiva.
The cornea is the clear dome that protects your iris, the colored part of your eye. The cornea is curved, and if there is a change or genetic abnormality with your cornea, you’ll likely develop an astigmatism (common eye issues for $200, Alex).
The cornea is also susceptible to injury. If your cornea gets scratched or otherwise impacted with debris, it can permanently impact your vision. The cornea stays lubricated by your own tears and by oil released from special glands in the sides of your eyes that cover the tears and prevent them from evaporating too quickly.
The pupil of your eye is the small black part of your eye that controls how much light enters your eye. Your pupil dilates to allow more light in when needed. Your optometrist dilates your pupils to examine the inner parts of your eye.
Most of the time, your pupils are only subject to sensitivity from light. However, if there is an injury to a portion of the eye that protects them, other sensitivities could develop.
The “sclera” is the scientific term for the whites of your eyes. When the sclera becomes irritated, you can experience swelling, redness, and itching that make your eyes feel uncomfortable. In extreme cases, irritants and allergens can cause inflammation of the sclera called scleritis.
The sclera is covered with a protective membrane that helps reduce the amount of irritants that reach the sclera.
The conjunctiva is the thin, protective membrane that covers the sclera. It surrounds the whites of your eyes that are visible and also the portion of the sclera that is not visible (hidden behind your eyelids.
Most of the time, sensitivity issues with the eyes begin in the conjunctiva. You may develop conditions that affect the conjunctiva and cause conjunctivitis.
Eye Sensitivity Issues
Your sensitive eyes are usually the result of contact with an irritant or allergen.
There’s an important difference between both:
- Irritant. An irritant is a material or compound that produces sensitivity to everyone. A good example is poison ivy. Poison ivy contains an oil that produces a rash on the skin. The rash you develop isn’t because you are allergic to the leaves themselves; it’s because the oil in the leaves of the plant is a skin irritant.
Allergen. An allergen is a compound that only produces an inflammatory response in a small group of people. If you are allergic to peanuts, for instance, it means your body perceives peanuts as a threat. When you eat them, your body begins to fight the compounds in the peanuts, producing an immune response.
Obviously, not all people are allergic to peanuts, so the person who is allergic is said to have a peanut allergy.
Whether you develop eye sensitivity issues due to irritants or allergens, there’s a smorgasbord of conditions you can develop as a result. Most of them are because of an irritation of the conjunctiva.
Noticing a growth on any area of your body is alarming, but finding them on the whites of your eyes can be especially drama-inducing. Most of the time, there’s no cause for alarm. Pinguiculas are non-cancerous growths that can develop on the sclera.
These growths are almost like calluses; they develop on the areas of the eye that are repeatedly exposed to irritants like the sun or wind. A pinguicula can also develop as a result of abrasion from sand or dirt.
Conjunctivitis that results from exposure to an allergen is referred to as allergic conjunctivitis.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include:
- Redness in the whites of the eyes
- Excessive tearing or watering of the eyes
You can develop allergic conjunctivitis whether or not you have any other allergy-related symptoms like coughing or sneezing. What’s more, allergic conjunctivitis can happen regardless of whether or not it is “allergy season.”
- Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis or “SAC” occurs when common plant-based allergens are pollinating. Ragweed and oak are two of the most popular offenders that can cause your eyes to itch and tear up when you walk outside in the spring and fall.
- Perennial allergic conjunctivitis or “PAC” is a year-round affair that is triggered by allergens that aren’t seasonal. Pet dander, dust mites, and mold are all types of allergens that can make you miserable year-round.
Conjunctivitis can feel chronic if you are exposed to allergens on a regular basis.
Just like allergens can cause conjunctivitis, some irritants can trigger eye sensitivity and cause conjunctivitis. Perfumes, dyes, and cigarette smoke are all sources of irritants that can invade your eyes and elicit an allergy-type response.
If you already have dry eyes, you know how important it is to make sure your eyes are properly lubricated. Your optometrist may have prescribed a special eye drop for you to use when your eyes feel particularly dry.
Dry eyes are usually the result of a genetic or medical condition that prevents your tear ducts from creating as many tears as you need or causes them to make low-quality tears that don’t properly lubricate the eyes.
External stressors like wind and sun can make dry eyes worse. These forces can also cause people with properly functioning tear ducts to experience dryness that can make their eyes feel like they’re scraping the insides of their sockets.
Activities and Lifestyle
Even if you don’t have allergies that interfere with your ability to enjoy your vision comfortably, certain sports-related activities can cause your eyes to become sensitive. In particular, swimming, cycling, and beach and snow activities place your eyes at a higher risk of developing irritation and sensitivity.
Lucky for you, you’ve found a solution that doesn’t involve numerous bottles of eye drops and trips to the eye doctor. Safety glasses give your eyes the protection they need from allergens and irritants so you can enjoy the activities you love.
Using Safety Glasses for Sensitive Eyes
As the owner of a pair of sensitive eyes, you probably also find yourself the owner of an extensive eyeglass collection. From cheap drugstore readers to top-shelf sunglasses, you’ve got a solution for both indoors and outdoors.
The problem with regular eyeglasses (and most sunglasses) is that they don’t offer the same level of wraparound protection that safety glasses afford you. Safety glasses protect the tops and sides of your eyes, places standard glasses leave you vulnerable.
Here’s a closer look at the features of high-quality safety glasses that make them a superior choice for sensitive eye protection:
Top and Side Shields
Your regular sunglasses and frames have generous gaps at the tops and sides of your eyes that can allow particles to enter into your eyes. Safety glasses have top and side shields that prevent airborne debris from entering your eyes in these areas.
The top shield of safety glasses connects the top of your eyeglass frame to your brow bone. The side shield protects the entire side of each eye at the temple. This type of full coverage can drastically reduce the number of eye irritants that come in contact with your eyes.
High-quality safety glasses are tested for impact resistance, which means they can withstand impact from hard objects (sometimes at high velocity) without shattering. Although you might not think this is important in terms of wearing safety glasses for allergy issues, we think impact resistance is not only important, it’s vital.
If you decide to wear your safety glasses to protect your eyes from pollen you stir up while mowing your lawn; you’ll also be keeping your eyes safe from any rocks or debris that might impact your eye area.
With Stoggles, you’ll get the ANSI Z87.1 impact-resistant certification on every pair of our safety glasses. This ensures that the glasses you wear protect your eyes no matter what your plan may be.
The sun can make eye sensitivity worse, especially if you aren’t wearing the right kind of UV protection. Both UVA and UVB rays have damaging effects on your eyes, which means you need glasses that protect you against both.
You probably think you’re protected if you have super dark glasses, but the color of your shades has nothing to do with the level of UV protection a pair of glasses gives your eyeballs. Dark shades keep your eyes comfortable, but a protective coating is what makes your eyes safe from the sun.
Stoggles safety glasses and SunStoggles are both UV blocking, so whether you’re exposed to UV radiation in the lab or outdoors, your eyes are safe from UV damage.
Blue Light Blocking
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz about blue light. Blue light is a part of the visible spectrum of light that has the shortest wavelength and some of the highest energy. Blue light is emitted from the sun, but also from your favorite tech like tablets, smartphones, laptops, and computers.
Blue light can make your eyes feel fatigued, give you headaches, and cause your eyes to water and feel itchy and sensitive. If you’ve ever felt like your eyes were tired or fatigued after a day of sitting at the computer, blue light is probably to blame.
All Stoggles safety glasses protect your eyes with blue-light-blocking lenses, whether you’re outside in the sun or inside surfing the web (aka: catching up on company emails).
Even if your safety glasses keep pollen out of your eyes, they’re hardly useful if you have to remove them to wipe away fog the second you walk outdoors. Fogging lenses aren’t just annoying; they render your glasses unsafe.
Removing your safety glasses to wipe them exposes your eyes to debris, allergens, and anything else you’re attempting to guard your eyes against. Anti-fog lenses keep your glasses fog-free, and they’re a much better option than anti-fog wipes.
Comfort and Style
Let’s face it, no matter how protective or necessary a pair of glasses may be, you aren’t going to wear them if they aren’t comfortable and stylish. Stoggles exists to combine the protection you need with the style you demand because we don’t think you should have to choose between one or the other.
Our frames are crafted from lightweight, impact-resistant polycarbonate and available in different shapes and colors so you can make them personally yours.
The Strong, Sensitive Type
Wind, pollen, and pet dander, oh my. Your eyes don’t stand a chance of being unprotected in the elements, especially if they’re sensitive. Safety glasses like Stoggles can help keep your eyes shielded from the external stressors that bother them most.
With Stoggles, you get uncompromising protection and serious style because wearing protective glasses and maintaining your level of cool shouldn’t be an “either/or” decision.
Pinguecula - Medical Encyclopedia | Medline Plus.gov
Allergic conjunctivitis | Allergy.org
Dry eyes - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Why are eyeballs wet? | Cornell Center for Materials Research