The sun has been starting to peek out more and this is great for our health to get outside and enjoy it. While we prepare to go enjoy the sun more, we need to remember how important it is to protect our eyes.
Why? UV light can damage our eyes, leading to increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye growths such as pinguecula and even eye cancers.
While UV is more apparent on sunny days, UV exposure exists all year round. UV light can pass through clouds and can reflect off surfaces such as snow or ice in the winter. These UV reflections off surfaces in the winter are intense and can lead to snow blindness. This is a form of “photokeratitis” and is like a sunburn on the front of your eyes. Keep in mind the times of the day when the sun is strongest and that higher altitudes bring higher risk of UV exposure due to the thinner air.
To best protect your eyes, you should wear sunglasses whenever you are exposed to UV. Your sunglasses should be 100% UV or UV400 protection, that block both UV-A and UV-B rays. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat in addition to sunglasses that fit close to your face and wrap around is best. Certain contact lenses do offer some UV protection, but still need to be worn with sunglasses to protect all areas of the eye.
Different hobbies and times of the year require different shades and types of sunglasses for your best vision. For example, amber or brown tinted polarized lenses are best for golf because they provide more contrast to the greens and fairways, while a gray tinted polarized lens is helpful for driving on sunny days as it offers good colour recognition, blocks brighter light and reduces glare. Prescription sunglasses provide UV protection while also giving you amazing vision. Come in and see our newly renovated dispensary and talk to one of our lovely opticians to see what the best recommendation for sunglasses for you would be!
Dr. Talisa Dennis, OD