When you practice indoor tanning at a tanning salon, you will be handed a special pair of goggles prior to entering the tanning bed. You might disregard them in fear of getting tan marks around your eyes, but these goggles do not serve an important purpose. They are necessary during indoor tanning because they help protect the eyes from damage.
The main reason you are handed a set of goggles when entering a tanning bed is for the safety of your eyes. These goggles protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays. These ultraviolet rays are the same as the UVA and UVB rays from the sun, which are dangerous. Wearing goggles is not the same as keeping your eyes closed. Your eyelids alone won't protect your eyes from the rays.
You may refuse to wear goggles thinking that you will get a "set of raccoon eyes," as stated by tanning-advisor.com. However, the eyelids neither tan, nor do they provide enough protection from UV rays. Therefore, you need to wear these goggles in a tanning bed. You may also think that since there is no harsh glare, no goggles or shades are needed. This is misleading; the lack of glare does not mean that the tanning bed's UV rays are not dangerous for your eyes.
When you don't wear the provided goggles in a tanning bed, you are exposing your eyes to extreme danger. Your eyes may seem fine at first, but you can develop long-term damage to your eyesight over time. According to the Federal Trade Commission, long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays may damage the retina, and overexposure may burn the cornea. As a result, repeated exposure causes the lens to cloud and form a cataract which, when left untreated, can lead to blindness. You also may speed up the creation of wrinkles around the eye area if this sensitive skin is exposed to UV rays.
The Food and Drug Administration requires that tanning salons urge their customers to wear these protective goggles when tanning in a bed. Natural sunlight exposure can cause eye damage as well, but in the sun, you feel burning, whereas in a tanning bed, your skin may remain cool. The UV rays are also more intense in a tanning bed, and therefore more dangerous than the UV rays of the sun.
Aleksandra Ozimek has been writing professionally since 2007 for a fashion blog, various online media and the "Queens Courier," in addition to interning at "Cosmopolitan" magazine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in journalism and photography from St. John's University, where she is completing her master's degree.