Posted July 30, 2010
Warmer temperatures provide many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, from yard work and gardening, to exercising or watching area sports teams.
While people may remember to apply sunscreen to protect their skin when they’re outdoors, they often forget to protect their eyes with sunglasses that minimize the harmful effects of the sun.
The principal danger posed by the sun is in the form of ultraviolet radiation. When your eyes are exposed to the sun without protection, even over a short period of time, you can experience sunburn of the eye, which is called photokeratitis.
When your eyes are repeatedly exposed to small amounts of UV radiation over many years, you may have an increased likelihood of developing a cataract, as well as permanently damaging the retina (the lining of your eye used for seeing). If over your lifetime you have exposed your eyes to significant amounts of UV radiation, you may be at risk of experiencing macular degeneration when you are older – a condition that results in loss of vision.
Tips for Selecting Sunglasses
When trying on sunglasses, many people are drawn to those that feature the latest fashion design or unique colors. While that stylish pair of sunglasses may enhance your appearance, it may not protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
When shopping for a new pair of shades, look for styles that:
- block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
- do not have imperfections or create distortions.
- have lenses that are gray, green or brown.
- feature a wrap-around frame design, which is especially important if you spend significant time outdoors.
If you are involved in hazardous work or sports, consider investing in sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses for the ultimate protection for your eyes.
Protect Your Vision … for the rest of your life
Regular visits to your eye doctor are vital to protecting eye health. Comprehensive examinations are a good way to monitor your eye health, sustain good vision, keep track of your UV radiation protection needs, and stay updated on advances in sunglass protection.
Let me know Are your eyes overexposed? Tell me about your outdoor activities and how you protect, or don’t protect, your eyes. Share your ideas and I’ll share the responses in a later blog.