How the Environment Can Hurt Your Eyes & Three Ways To Protect Them

You’ve got your skin suit to protect your body from the environment, but your eyes are left to fend for themselves, seemingly exposed without much more than a thin layer of mucus membrane to protect them from the outside world.

The environment can be harsh on your vision, and learning what the potential risks to your optical health are can help you better protect your eyes and avoid eye-related injuries. Something as simple as donning a pair of specialized safety glasses could be the solution to keeping your eyes comfortable and protected from external stressors.

Stoggles cares about your eye health and about keeping you comfortable and impeccably well accessorized. Together, we’ll learn about the eyes’ own natural defenses, the environmental threats to your eyesight, and what you can do to protect your eyes and stay safe.

How the Eyes Work

Your eyes are complex structures that allow the light reflected off other people and surfaces to be interpreted (via the brain) as your vision. The chain of events that allows you to see involves several different structures within your eyes, the optic nerve, and your brain.

The Lens and Pupil

The two parts of your eyes that collect light are the lens and pupil. The lens operates like a camera lens, collecting light from outside sources. The pupil determines how much light is allowed in.

The Retina

The light collected by the lens and pupil is then transmitted to the retina, a structure located in the back of your eye. The retina contains millions of retinal cells which receive the light from the lens and pupil.

Within the retina is a structure called the macula. The macula also houses retinal cells and is responsible for interpreting the light from the lens and pupil into fine, detailed vision.

The cells located in the retina and macula are unlike other cells in your body in that they cannot regenerate. This means when they are damaged, they cannot be repaired. When retinal cells are damaged, some (or all) of your vision can be lost, which is why it’s so important to ensure we protect our eyes as thoroughly as possible.

The Optic Nerve

The retinal cells take the light information collected by the lens and pupil and transfer it to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain then interprets the light as vision and tells us what we see. All of this happens in a fraction of milliseconds, making the eye and the process of vision incredibly amazing.

Your Eyes’ Natural Defense System

Even though it can seem like our eyes are much too precious (and non-repairable) to be exposed without so much as a heavy, bony cover, they do have natural defenses in place that do an incredible job keeping them safe while allowing us to see. After all, it would be difficult to see through a thick, skull-like plate in front of our eyes.

Lashes, Lids, and Eyebrows

Your lashes, eyelids, and eyebrows work to keep particles of dust, dirt, and debris from entering your eye. The lids of your eyes close and open reflexively and periodically to keep your eyes hydrated and also to prevent foreign objects from entering.

Even your eyebrows play a role in eye safety, trapping particles that land on the skin above your eyes from falling into your field of vision.

The Orbital Socket

The bones that support your eyes protrude beyond your eyes, offering protection against strikes. The eye socket creates a space that is similar to the hollow of a bowl. Your eye is able to move freely inside the bowl while still retaining the protection from the rim against larger objects that could potentially hit them.

Conjunctiva and Cornea

The surface of your eye is rounded due to the cornea, the structure that covers your eye like a contact lens. The cornea is thick and offers protection to the lens and pupil. The cornea is also covered with a thin mucus membrane called the conjunctiva.

The conjunctiva handles intruders that do make it past your eyelashes and lids. Dirt, debris, and particles get trapped in the conjunctiva and relocated to the inner corners of your eyes for removal.

Tears

Tears help remove the particles and debris that enter your eyes quickly, so they don’t interfere with your vision or cause irritation or infection. Tears also serve to lubricate your eyes so that you don’t experience scratches or tears from a particle or even a fallen eyelash.

Environmental Threats to Your Eyes

Every time you leave your house (and sometimes even when you stay indoors), environmental threats seek to rob you of your vision. Okay, we admit that might be a little dramatic, but the threat to your eye health is real.

UV Rays

The sun is one of the biggest environmental threats to your vision. Ultraviolet rays can burn your eyes just like your skin, but the damage lasts longer and feels worse.

Photokeratitis, for example, is a condition where light reflected off of snow, ice, or sand burns the cornea and inflames the conjunctiva. This results in irritation, blurred vision, a feeling of grittiness in the eyes, and in some cases, temporary vision loss.

Cumulative UV damage can affect your macula and lead to early-onset macular degeneration. Protecting your eyes from the sun (and from other sources of UV rays like the welding arc and medical lab equipment) is essential in keeping your eyes safe.

Blue Light

Blue light is closely related to ultraviolet light. It has short wavelengths and high energy and is part of the visible light spectrum. Blue light is emitted from the sun and from devices like computers, televisions, tablets, and smartphones.

Our increased exposure to devices makes blue light a bigger risk to our vision than it was even a decade ago. Blue light can cause eye strain, fatigue, headaches, and blurred vision. It may cause more permanent damage to your eyes.

While research is ongoing to determine the long-term effects of blue light on our vision, the safest way to protect our eyes is to wear blue light filtering glasses when we are exposed to blue light-emitting devices.

Pollution

Smog and cigarette smoke are two forms of pollution that can hurt your eyes and significantly reduce the number of tears you produce. Pollution can become a major problem, especially if you live in an urban area and are especially sensitive to it.

Allergens

Just like you develop allergies that make you sniffle and sneeze, your eyes can experience allergic reactions too. Allergens cause your eyes to water, itch, and feel irritated. In some cases, you may even develop an eye infection due to an allergen.

Allergens come in two forms: seasonal and perennial.

  • Seasonal allergens refer to plants, trees, and weeds that pollinate during particular seasons.
    • Perennial allergens refer to irritants like pet dander, insect droppings, mold, and dust that can affect your eyes year-round.

Allergies can make it impossible for you to wear corrective contact lenses if you need them and can lead to excessive rubbing that causes further eye irritation and discomfort.

Three Ways To Protect Your Eyes

It’s a dangerous world out there, but you can protect your eyes from their environmental enemies. Here are three ways your eyes can stay safe while you stay comfortable.

1. Establish a Good Eye Care Routine

If you aren’t seeing an optometrist, find one. An eye doctor can ensure your eye health is optimal and make corrections to your vision to improve it as needed. They can also help ensure your eyes are taken care of if you have an infection and determine what allergens, if any, are bothering your eyes.

2. Limit Your Exposure

If you know your eyes can’t handle ragweed pollen, limit your exposure when it’s pollinating. Likewise, it’s a smart idea to limit your UV exposure, if possible, to protect your eyes from harm.

It’s not always possible to limit your exposure, which brings us to our third and final way to protect your eyes from environmental harm.

3. Wear Protective Safety Glasses

Safety glasses create a barrier between your eyes and your immediate environment to keep them safe. Whether you’re at work or at play, safety glasses limit the amount of exposure your eyes have to irritants that threaten your eye health.

Stoggles to the Rescue

Not all heroes wear capes, and once you try on a pair of Stoggles, we think you’ll agree: they’re the knight in shining armor your eyes need.

All Stoggles are outfitted with:

  • UV blocking lenses to protect your eyes from UV rays
  • Side and top shields to ensure debris and heavier objects can’t reach your eyes
  • Blue light blocking lenses to keep your eyes safe from blue light when you’re in front of a screen
  • Lightweight, virtually indestructible polycarbonate. Our safety glasses are all ANSI Z87.1-2020 certified for impact resistance
  • Anti-fog lenses to ensure you never have to remove your glasses to remove fog.

Unlike other safety glasses, Stoggles allow you to protect your eyes in style. Available in three different frame shapes, three different sizes, and numerous color options, it’s easy to get a custom fit that protects you perfectly and fits your personality.

Take On Your Day, With Stoggles

Your eye health is important and delicate due to retinal cells that are fragile and non-regenerative. As such, it’s important to protect your eyes from environmental hazards that could harm your vision, or at the very least, make your eyes really uncomfortable.

Wearing safety glasses is the smart way to protect your eyes whether you’re at your desk, on the job, at home, or at play. Stoggles covers all the bases by giving you superior protection and supreme style in one streamlined pair of specs.

It’s a harsh environment, but we’ve got you covered. Stoggles keep your eyes safe and in style.

 

Sources:

How the Eyes Work | National Eye Institute

Biology of the Eyes: Protective Features of the Eye | Merck Manuals

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Damage | Hopkins Medicine

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