First, lets talk about eyes with Dr. Phillip:
What does squinting from the sun do to eyes? How does sun directly damage eyes?
“The sun damages the eyes. The UV damages can help cataract formation to occur quicker and damage to the back of the eye to exacerbate macular degeneration. Squinting in particular doesn’t affect the health of your eyes. When you’re squinting to see better you’re using focusing eyes muscles, but when you’re squinting from the sun you’re not trying to focus- it doesn’t affect your eyes the same way.”
What is the best way to prevent squinting from the sun? Do you recommend people wear sunglasses?
“Sunglasses and wearing hats. As long as it has UV protection on it that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter how dark or light the coating is, you just want to protect the UV rays from damaging your eyes.”
Are some people more prone to squinting than others?
“People with lighter eyes and bigger pupils are more prone to squinting because they’re more sensitive to light.”
What about wrinkles? Dr. Katz has you covered:
Can squinting from the sun cause wrinkles around the eyes, like crows feet? What are other consequences of squinting from the sun?
“It certainly does cause crows feet and wrinkles around the eyes and especially when you squint from the sun your eye muscles are trying to protect your eyes by closing them as much as possible so that they’re not exposed to sunlight. That’s the body’s response to bright sunlight; it tries to protect the eyes. And those lines develop because of the motion of the muscles; it’s called the orbicularis oculi muscle — a circular muscle around the eye that causes the wrinkles and crows feet to develop. The more you squint, the deeper the lines get. To reverse that, we use Botox in that area. It relaxes those muscles so that they don’t cause the squinting and therefore the wrinkles.”
What can people do to prevent these wrinkles around the eyes?
“To prevent them you should wear sunglasses; that’s the most important thing. It’s not something you can control. It’s a reflex motion, so by wearing sunglasses and avoiding bright light, you’re less likely to squint.”
Are there specific types of Sunglasses that work better than others in this case?
“Yes, make sure to get sunglasses that have UVA and UVB blocking lenses and also polarized lenses. Wrap around will obviously protect you more from sun, but the UVA/UVB is more important. The wrap around will prevent sun from hitting the sides of the face, but won’t prevent squinting. UVA/UVB prevents glare and bright light and protects eyes from developing cataracts and other problems.”
Are some people more prone to around the eye wrinkles than others? Why?
“It’s more likely to develop in fair skin people because their skin gets weathered and damaged more easily form the sun than people with darker skin. So certainly fair skin people have a higher risk. If you’re outdoors a lot you’re more likely to develop wrinkles than if you’re working indoors, like sitting in an office. So, definitely outdoor workers are at higher risk for these wrinkles.”
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