If your eyes are the windows to your soul, it is all the more reason they need protection from internal and external forces, including poor nutrition, certain medication such as sulfa drugs and diuretics, and daily exposure to dust and the sun’s UV rays.
While the former can be taken care of by a balanced diet and avoidance of drugs known to cause light sensitivity, devoting proper attention to the latter is also extremely important. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can lead to damage to the retina and the development of cataracts, which if left untreated, can result in partial or complete blindness.
Improper eye care can also lead to conditions like macular degenerating and photokeratitis with temporary vision loss. These conditions usually take a few years to develop, so the longer your eyes stay unprotected, the greater the risk you put them at.
Selecting suitable sunglasses can help you in two ways -a good pair blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays, and filters light without distorting or changing colors dramatically.
When buying a pair of sunglasses make sure they:
• reduce glare
• eliminate at least 99 percent UV rays
• are comfortable to wear
• do not distort colors
Researchers say preventive steps can fight UV damage. They recommend the following:
1. Always wear sunglasses when outdoors. While it may seem safe to remove them on a cloudy day, the sun’s UV rays do filter through grey skies and can also get reflected off shiny surfaces like water, buildings, and snow.
2. Use sunglasses even if you wear UV protected contact lenses. While the contact lenses may protect part of the eyes, the remaining surface will still be exposed and in danger of developing eye disease. Also, the eyelids are susceptible to developing skin cancer, and while a sunscreen might help, sunglasses will offer double protection.
3. Select your sunglasses depending on the activity you’ll be indulging in. Aviator sunglasses for example can ensure a comfortable fit and limits the amount of light and glare that can filter through thanks to large frames.
4. For extended periods outdoors, sunglasses should block out at least 99 percent UV rays and 75 percent light. This ensures not only your eyes are protected, but also you do not need to squint against the glare.
While many have debated on whether to invest in branded sunglasses or store bought varieties, the fact remains a good pair of sunglasses is a long term investment which your eyes will thank you for.