Summer vacation is here, and our options for fun outdoor activities are endless. July is UV Safety Month, so I thought it would be a great time to discuss how you can protect your eyes, and your family’s, while still soaking up the summer rays!
One thing is glaringly obvious﹘ sunglasses make you look way cooler. But they do far more than that! Sunglasses are the best line of defense your eyes have against the sun’s rays. Here are a few reasons why sunglasses are more than just an accessory.
Crash Course: What are UV rays? Ultraviolet (UV) rays come from the sun’s energy. They are invisible to the human eye because they have shorter wavelengths than the visible spectrum of light. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause sunburns, skin cancer, and a heightened risk of eye problems.
UV Light and Your Eyes. It’s important to protect your eyes when spending time outside. Exposure to UV rays over time can affect the health of your eyes as well as your vision. Overexposure to the sun’s rays can result in cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium.
- Cataracts happen as the result of protein build-up in the eye. They cause clouded vision and a diminished tolerance for bright light.
- Macular degeneration happens when the central portion of your retina (the macula) wears down. It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60.
- Pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye,” is a growth that develops on the clear tissue of the eye and can spread to the cornea.
In addition, the skin on your eyelids and surrounding your eyes is quite sensitive to sunlight and can burn quickly without protection. Lastly, if you’re recovering from an eye procedure, such as LASIK, wearing sunglasses is even more important to ensure that your eyes heal properly.
Choosing the Right Pair of Shades. Now that you have a better understanding of why you should consistently wear sunglasses outdoors, it’s time to pick the perfect pair. Here are a few tips for selecting the right shades for you.
- Make sure you’re comfortable with wearing them daily. Choose a style you like that sits comfortably on your face and doesn’t interfere with your line of sight.
- Look for high-quality lenses that provide protection from the full spectrum of UV light.
- Think about what you’ll be doing while wearing your sunglasses and choose styles accordingly. For a weekend on the water, look for options that provide help with glare. You can also purchase straps for your glasses to keep them from getting lost while you’re enjoying yourself at the beach or lake.
- If you already wear glasses to correct your vision, consider investing in a pair of prescription sunglasses.
If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t hesitate to consult with your eye doctor. They can advise you on what options are best for you and what brands they trust to provide the best protection for eyes. Have a safe and happy summer!