Sunglasses are all about style, right? People love to dress up and slide those sleek black shades on and slip out into the sun. Maybe you wear sunglasses for function, hiding your eyes from the bright sunlight, helping you get back home when the sun sits right at eye level? For whatever reason we wear sunglasses, are we really benefiting the eyes? Some say that sunglasses can actually thwart the functions of the pineal gland. Is this true? If so, what is being inhibited?
The pineal gland is a small gland situated in the center of the brain between the two hemispheres. For a long time scientists didn’t really know its function and brushed it off as a less important gland. Today we still don’t know everything, but we do know the pineal gland regulates melatonin and serotonin production in the body. It is a light-sensitive gland and it responds to cues put out by sunlight, or lack thereof.
Currently, there is some controversy around the possible detrimental effects of sunglass wearing on the pineal gland. Apparently it is necessary for unfiltered sunlight to reach the eyes in order to translate into wanted responses by the pineal gland. When the light, as “electromagnetic energy” enters the eye via the optic nerves, it stimulates the very important functions of the pineal gland, which is termed a “photo-reactive organ.” Our amazing pineal gland then converts the light into impulses of an electromagnetic nature, feeding the hypothalamus which is the control center for many autonomic functions.
Neurochemical impulses then go from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland, the body’s master gland who’s job it is to maintain homeostasis in the body by excreting or orchestrating the release of dozens of body hormones and chemicals. All of this can be effected by the simple act of putting on those “cool” shades. Yes, they definitely make you look good, but are you functioning as well with them as without?
We would all be very surprised to note how well our eyes can adjust to light fluctuations if we just let them. It is so much easier and popular to put on a pair of shades when the light gets bright, but perhaps all the sunglasses hype has contributed to more problems in the body then we know yet.
Ultra-violet light provides us with a certain type of energy which is blocked by sunglasses and contact lenses. Some researchers believe the sunglasses epidemic has contributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder by limiting the positive intake of beneficial rays into a person including Vitamin D. The lack of pineal stimulation which affects the master gland as well as screwing up melatonin and serotonin production can also be seen as contributing factors of SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects many people in the greater Northwest regions such as Portland, Oregon and Washington or norther Europe and Russia, where the sun is limited. People who live in these areas may be causing an increase in the severity and frequency of this disorder due to wearing sunglasses during the few times the sun does shine. Instead, if you live in a largely cloudy area, try losing the sunglasses and see how much better you feel.
The studies are still out on the depth to which sunglasses can thwart pineal gland function, but there is growing evidence to suggest it may be better to limit your time as Mr. or Miss “cool” and face the rays. This does not mean you can never wear sunglasses again, just be mindful of the amount of time you wear them and balance it out with some honest time with your eyeballs exposed to pure sunlight. Remember, don’t stare at the sun, except during the safe no-UV times of day, an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. If you do choose to sungaze, follow the recommended protocol for safe gazing. In the meantime, shelf the shades and feel better.
Written by: Stasia Bliss