Got your sunglasses ready to go for the next time you step outside to enjoy the summer sun? Most of us use sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun’s damaging ultra-violet rays, but did you know that those same rays can also damage unprotected eyes and increase the risk of eye diseases?
Many people don’t realize that the sun can have long-term health impacts on eyes when they’re left unprotected. From cataracts to sunburn (yes, your eyes can get burned, too), there are a few important health risks you should be aware of before your next outdoor adventure.
Long-term exposure to the sun without proper protection can increase the risk of eye diseases, including macular degeneration, cataracts, growths on the eye, corneal issues and even rare forms of eye cancer. Even short-term exposure can have damaging effects. Sun reflecting off the water can cause a painful sunburn on the cornea.
The good news is that prevention of damage from UV rays is simple!
Follow these easy tips to stay eye smart in the sun:
- Wear a hat along with your sunglasses to offer further UV protection.
- Remember the kids! Make sure your kids are protected with sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen.
- Know that clouds do not block UV light. The sun’s rays can still pass through on cloudy days and sun damage can occur to the eyes any time of year.
- Don’t be fooled by lens color! While very dark lenses appear to block more light, they do not always necessarily block more UV rays. Be sure to ask our trained opticians to help choose the safest, most effective lenses for your eyes.
- Consider polarized lenses. Polarization reduces the glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. Polarized lenses can make activities like driving, playing sports or being on the water safer and more enjoyable.
Pick the right pair of sunglasses
Some sunglasses do a better job at protecting your eyes than others and there are a lot of options out there, so how do you know which ones will offer you the most protection? The best quality sunglasses are made up of multiple elements that work together to protect your vision in the sunlight.
- UV coating: UV coating is the real hero of this operation and is the most important element of good sunglasses. Just like sunscreen protects your skin from dangerous UV light.
- Mirror coating: Mirror coating on sunglasses is the first line of defense in the fight for protecting your eyeballs from UV light. The coating is applied to the front of your lenses and works by reflecting light away from your eyes – just like, you guessed it, a mirror. Not only does this help avoid squinting and eyestrain (and that painful headache as a result), but it also helps filter out the harmful sunlight from reaching your eyes.
- Anti-reflective (AR) coating: Anti-reflective coating, or AR coating, helps eliminate those pesky reflections and allow for a much clearer image by preventing light from reflecting off the back surface of your sunnies.
- Polarized lenses: Polarization is all the rage these days – and for good reason. Have you ever been to a lake or ski resort and noticed your eyes are especially strained because of the reflection of light off of the water or snow? That’s called polarized light, which causes glare and can reduce visibility. While polarized lenses don’t offer protection from those dangerous UV rays, they do help filter out and block reflected light to make driving and other outdoors activities safer.
By embracing these simple tips and finding the right pair of sunglasses you and your family can enjoy the summer sun while still protecting your vision and health of your eyes. Stop by one of the Select Eyecare locations and check out our wide selection of sunglasses and let one of our opticians help you get the best pair of sunglasses right for you.