Why You Should Wear Sunglasses When You Run

Check out a full review of my Zeal sunglasses here

I hear people talk all the time about how we should all wear sunscreen every day, especially on our faces, to prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Here's the deal, sun exposure isn't good for your eyes either!

I think a lot of us, out of comfort and wanting to look cute, wear sunglasses and put on sunscreen when we go to the beach. For me, I go to the beach a couple times a year. But I run outside for like 5 hours a week. That sun exposure, while it seems minimal per day, adds up quick. And if you live at altitude, you're literally closer to the sun, and thusly more exposed.

Here are my top 4 reasons why you should start wearing sunglasses (and maybe a hat too) year round, even if it's cloudy:

  1. UV Damage - Exposure to UV rays is known to cause cataracts (the clouding of your normally clear lens in your eye)
  2. Wrinkles - Double whammy here. The skin around your eyes is really thin and sensitive; wearing sunglasses protects that sensitive skin from UV rays. Also, if you are outside on a sunny day and not wearing sunglasses, you're forced to squint your way through your run. This also causes wrinkles. 
  3. Skin Cancer - That sensitive skin around your eyes is also prone to skin cancer. Sunglasses can protect it from that. 
  4. Blue Light - This type of solar light is known to cause macular degeneration (aka. vision loss)

Moral of the story, it's worth it to wear sunglasses on all of your outdoor runs. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing sunglasses:

  • UV Protection - You want to choose glasses that block 98-100% of UVA and UVB rays
  • Size of Lenses - Generally, bigger is better because you get more coverage
  • Polarized - These type of lenses reduce glare
  • Weight - If you're running in them, you're going to want them to be light weight and maybe have some sort of grip

One last thing: more expensive doesn't always mean better. Shop around and learn about the details -- protection, weight, type of lenses, etc. 

Hope this helps!