About 15 years ago I was studying Anatomy and Physiology. It was great to get a more detailed understanding of the workings of the human body! It was whilst studying this I got an epiphany about the relationship between sunglasses and skin cancer, and I haven’t worn sunglasses since. Please note that this is a theory and of course is subject to change, ridicule, indifference and proof of the opposite, and this is totally fine. I just thought I would offer this to you, and you can do with it as you want…..
The Anatomy and Physiology course explained to me the relationship between the light that hits the eyes and the amount of melanin that the body produces. Melanin is the stuff that makes us tan. Its function is to protect the skin against the sun, tanning you instead of burning. The interesting thing is that the body knows how much melanin to produce by the amount of light hitting your eyes! So when you walk outside on a sunny day and the sunlight hits your eyes, your body knows to start producing more melanin to protect your skin. However, when you walk outside on a sunny day wearing sunglasses, your eyes don’t register that it is a sunny day, and so it does not produce (enough) melanin to protect your skin! Upon learning that the body produces melanin related to the amount of light that hits the eyes, I immediately stopped wearing sunglasses. Of course, if you are in an extreme light situation, like snow or water, where the reflection is so intense that it can lead to blindness, sunglasses are essential to protect your eyes if you are not used to that type of light (you do not see traditional eskimos wearing sunnies, so I guess it is just what you are used to). I discovered that a lot of people are now overly sensitive to natural light, as when I tell them I haven’t worn sunglasses in years, they tell me they couldn’t do it! My eyes were sensitive in the beginning as well, but they got used to it. Now I only have a little bit of trouble in extreme glare situations. But I still do not wear sunglasses.
I may be totally off with my theory, but I feel that the more natural we live, the better it is for all aspects of our health. Sunglasses haven’t been around for very long, and the only reason they are possibly useful is in unnatural situations (eg a city with a lot of reflected light due to concrete, steel or glass) or in an environment that we are not used to (like on water or in snow). Outside of these circumstances, train your eyes to live without sunglasses. You may find your skin copes better with the sun!
©2015 Zaia; Do It Yourself Food and Health Hub, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, Zaia Kendall discusses her theory about the link between sunglasses and skin cancer.