Why You Should Remember to Protect Your Eyes When You Run

Everyone always talks about sun-protective clothing for runners—from UPF running shirts to lightweight joggers. However, people often forget that your eyes need protection, too. This is especially true if you run daily, whether it’s commuting to and from work, or training for a marathon. After all, this also means that you're exposed to the sun more frequently.

Here are more reasons why you should remember to protect your eyes when you run.

Causes cataracts

While UV rays are commonly associated with skin disease, they can have detrimental effects on your eyes as well. According to Daydreaming in Paradise’s article on the importance of sunglasses, the natural level of antioxidants in our eyes isn’t enough to stave away the effects of UV rays. Overexposure to these harmful rays will eventually cause oxidation in your eyes, potentially leading to the development of cataracts. Even hats won’t fully shield them from UV rays. As such, it’s highly recommended that you put on proper sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection.

Hastens the aging of your vision

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that naturally occurs in your eyes over time, as its name suggests. It’s when your vision starts blurring or when dark spots start appearing. AMD is a disease that affects the retina, or the light-sensitive layer of your eyes. Therefore, if your eyes are constantly exposed to UV rays, it can actually hasten the process. Much like cataracts, the best way to prevent this is by shielding your eyes with some protective glasses.

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Leads to snow blinding

Skin isn’t the only thing that can experience sunburn—your cornea can too. The cornea is the outermost layer of your eyes, responsible for controlling the amount of light that enters your eye. When it’s damaged, it can temporarily make your eyes more sensitive and prone to colour changes and blurred eyesight—a phenomenon called snow blindness. An article on Health Day informs that this snow blindness can disappear on its own. However, it’s still better to keep your eyes away from direct sun exposure to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Irritates your eyes

Running causes you to sweat (a lot), but sweat can also end up sliding into your eyes. Sweat by itself isn’t harmful—but if it’s too salty, ophthalmologist Rayna Habash warns that it can cause some mild eye irritation. This can easily be solved by drinking a lot of water before you run, as a hydrated body will produce sweat that’s lower in salt concentration. Alternatively, you can wear a moisture-wicking headband to trap the sweat before they have a chance to creep down your forehead.

Forms skin cancer lesions around the eyelids

Your eyelids contain the thinnest and most sensitive skin on your body. So, they’re a favourite target of skin cancer, which is commonly caused by sun exposure. True enough, studies on Healthline show that around five to ten percent of skin cancers occur on the eyelids. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 will protect you from this. Just be careful when you apply it around your eyes.

In conclusion, it's absolutely crucial to keep your eyes well protected whenever you run in the great outdoors—no matter what the weather is. Even when it’s snowing or the weather is overcast, it doesn't change the fact that the sun is still there.

Looking for more running advice? Check out our other posts on the IAMRUNBOX blog.


Submitted by Hana McAllister
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