What do you have your sights on this summer? We love our sponsors over at Orange Circle Optometry, and they have some awesome tips to help you protect your eyes from the summer sun. Be sure to visit them on Facebook and show them some extra love!
Have you picked out the perfect pair of sunglasses this summer? While stylish shades are a must for strutting your stuff around Old Towne or laying out at the beach, it’s important to remember that they provide much more than good fashion sense. Protecting your eyes from the sun is just as important as protecting your skin.
The summer sun emits UV rays which are an invisible form of radiation that can be absorbed by eye tissue. While it may not feel like any damage has been done right away, extended, unprotected exposure to UV radiation can cause serious eye problems such as cataracts, skin cancer of the eyelids, macular degeneration and pterygium (a growth beginning on the white portion of the eye).
The next time you’re soaking up some sunshine, follow these steps to protect your eyes from UV radiation:
- Check for 97-100% UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 97 to 100 percent of UV rays. Make sure they absorb UVa and UVb.
- Think about lens color: You may want to go with gray or green lenses because they’re neutral and don’t change color. If you want to see more contrast, choose brown. Just keep in mind that brown may distort colors a bit.
- Go for big frames: Larger frames and wrap-around styles provide extra UV protection by blocking rays that come in from the side.
- Don’t rely on contact lenses: Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, remember your sunglasses.
- Don’t be fooled by clouds: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in summertime.
- Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever outside and it’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.
- Never look directly at the sun: Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to damage to the retina.
- Don’t forget the kids: everyone is at risk, including children. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses.
Of course, UV protection isn’t the only consideration when it comes to selecting sunglasses. In addition to UV protection, consider these extras:
- Blue-blocking lenses: Blue-blocking lenses can make distant objects easier to see, especially in snow or haze. They’re popular with skiers, boaters and hunters. Lenses that block all blue light are tinted amber. However, when driving, it’s recommended that tinted sunglasses be gray to ensure proper traffic light recognition.
- Polarized lenses: Polarized lenses reduce reflected glare, such as sunlight that bounces off snow or water. They’re useful for skiing, driving and fishing.
- Photochromic lenses: These lenses darken or lighten as the amount of available light changes. However, they take time to adjust to different light conditions.
- Mirror-coated lenses: Mirror-coated lenses reduce visible light.
- Gradient lenses: Single-gradient lenses, which are dark on the top and lighter on the bottom, reduce glare while allowing you to see clearly.
For those that prefer no tints at all, clear UV protective coatings can be applied on clear prescription glasses.
Summer’s not over yet! There’s still time to enjoy swimming, picnicking, and spending lots of time outdoors. You know how important it is to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. But after you slather on the sun block, make sure to protect your eyes too. Slip on a good pair of sunglasses and you’ll be ready to hit the sand.