Sunglasses have become so much more than a fashion statement. They have become a necessary accessory in the arsenal against sun damage to the body – along with sunscreens and hats and protective clothing. Wearing sunglasses not only makes you look cool but also makes you look smart. Smart people know that it is important to protect their eyes from the UV rays that come from the sun. We, as a society, have fairly recently accepted the idea that we need sunscreen for our skin. Sales have skyrocketed and people are more aware of the need to apply it. Now it is time to adopt the same mindset when it comes to protecting our eyesight. Studies have shown that the sun can damage our eyes, too. So, practice safe-sight to avoid any unwanted eye diseases and even blindness !
Put UV Rating Before Fashion Style!
UVA – UVB – HEV – All Are Harmful Rays
It does us no good to look fashionable in the latest designer sunglasses if they offer no UV protection. The radiation from ultraviolet rays are the dangerous part of sunlight that contributes to eye disease and blindness. When purchasing new shades, always look for the little sticker that says UVA/UVB protection. It is recommended by the FDA, who oversees the marketing and manufacturing of sunglasses, that they offer you 99%-100% protection. The label should read either UV 400 or 100% UV protection.
There is also another harmful ray coming from the sun known as near-UV or “Blue Light”. They are HEV rays which is High Energy Visible Light. This is the sunlight that causes blinding sun glare that we experience while driving when the sun is rising or setting – usually during rush hour. If you’ve ever been caught in that glare while driving without eye protection then you know how scary and dangerous the blinding effect can be. You literally are blind and cannot see in front of you while driving. Serious accidents have occurred due to sun glare and can be avoided if everyone has protective eyewear while on the road. Too much exposure to HEV rays can also cause macular degeneration and other eye disease.
Don’t forget to protect the eyes of children. A lifetime of sun exposure can damage them as well. It may be difficult to keep them on an infant or young child but the benefit will pay off in the long run. There are many adorable styles for children now as companies have been made aware of the need. A young child who cannot speak yet may show obvious relief when you place the glasses on them and they can relax and stop squirming and squinting in the sunlight. The plastic toy sunglasses are not effective and should not be worn as protection outdoors.
Do We Need Sunglasses on Cloudy Days or in The Wintertime?
The answer to that is YES ! Although it may seem that the harmful suns rays don’t effect us as much during colder or darker times, they still do. Even on a cloudy day the UV rays can pass through the clouds – that is when many people also fore go the sunscreen and end up with a serious skin burn. Don’t be fooled. It is also important to wear sun protection on your eyes when participating in recreational activities on the water such as boating or fishing and when doing snow sports as the sun’s harmful rays are reflected off the water and snow as well. Choose to wear sunglasses that include a warranty stating they provide 99-100% UVA and UVB (broad-spectrum) protection. Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae and pterygia and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.
Why get Polarized Lenses?
Light reflects off of flat or smooth surfaces such as the road, your car hood, water and snow and is considered horizontally polarized. Polarized lenses in sunglasses are made to counteract that by blocking the light with vertically oriented polarizers. So, the result is a much clearer line of vision and a great reduction of the sun glare that can be annoying and painful to sensitive eyes as well as extremely dangerous. Polarized lenses also help you not to squint so much and thus reducing premature wrinkles around the eyes.
Remember to have an annual eye exam. Slight changes in the eye from year to year can have a big impact if a potential problem is not identified by your eye doctor in time. Preventive care is very important. Make your appointment today!