As the temperatures rise and the sun begins to shine, we all get excited to spend more time outdoors. We take a stroll with a friend or attend a game of a child. Most of us remember to wear sunscreen to protect our skin against the sun’s harmful rays. However, do we all remember to protect our eyes, too?
The sun can cause damage in many ways to the eyes. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, and eye cancers. UV rays can also lead to growths, called pterygium, which begin on the white part of the eye and eventually can affect the cornea. This condition is common among people who work outside. UV rays can come down from the sun but also can reflect from the ground, sand, water, and snow.
Everyone is at risk for UV damage from the sun. Children and adults should protect themselves. UV damage is cumulative over time so it is never too early to start wearing eye protection. The longer a person spends outside, the higher his/her risk of developing vision loss. In fact, some experts say that because children tend to spend significantly more time outdoors than most adults, up to half of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation can occur by age 18.
There are simple things that everyone can do, such as wear sunglasses and hats to cover the eyes and block out the UV rays. It is important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days because the sun’s damage is still a risk even through the clouds. When selecting sunglasses, choose ones that block out at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound frames can be helpful to protect the eyes from every angle.
Of course, UV protection isn’t the only consideration when it comes to selecting sunglasses. In addition to UV protection, consider these extras:
- Blue-blocking lenses. Blue-blocking lenses can make distant objects easier to see, especially in snow or haze. They’re popular with skiers, boaters and hunters. Lenses that block all blue light are tinted amber.However, when driving, it’s recommended that tinted sunglasses be gray to ensure proper traffic light recognition.
- Polarized lenses. Polarized lenses reduce reflected glare, such as sunlight that bounces off snow or water. They’re useful for skiing, driving and fishing.
- Photochromic lenses. These lenses darken or lighten as the amount of available light changes. However, they take time to adjust to different light conditions.
- Polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate lenses offer impact protection during potentially hazardous sports and activities.
- Mirror-coated lenses. Mirror-coated lenses reduce visible light.
- Gradient lenses. Single-gradient lenses, which are dark on the top and lighter on the bottom, reduce glare while allowing you to see clearly. They’re useful for driving, but not sports. Double-gradient lenses are dark on the top and bottom and lighter in the middle. They’re useful to wear during water or winter sports, but not for driving.
At Fairway Eye Center, we have a large selection of fashionable and attractive sunglasses from which to choose. Stop in to prepare for that upcoming Spring Break trip or your fun tennis match or round of golf.