Your Eyes and the Sun…

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While many people worry about UV rays and how it may damage their skin, they often don’t realize how it may damage their eyes. The main danger the sun presents is in the form of UV rays. Ultraviolet rays are electromagnetic radiation, and while they have many benefits, they can also be very harmful.

When it comes to your eyes, it is important to protect them as you would your skin from the harmful effects UV rays can cause. Over exposure can cause a variety of problems, including age-related cataracts and degeneration of the cornea. According to George W. Good, OD, PhD of the American Optometric Association “other disorders that can occur are abnormal growths on the eye’s surface and even a sunburn of the eyes. These conditions can cause blurred vision, irritation, redness, tearing, temporary vision loss and, in some instances, blindness.” Now that is some pretty serious stuff.

Tell me this, when you are searching for that perfect pair of sunglasses, what are you considering before purchasing? I hope you are not purchasing on price and looks alone. The appropriate response should be that you are searching based on the level of UV protection they provide. It is vitally important to your eyes that you are looking for sunglasses with lenses that are able to block out 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation. They should also block out about 75% of visible light. For good measure it is also best to try and seek out sunglasses that have a grey tint. Grey will help to block out the light while not distorting the natural color of the things you are viewing.

I want to also quickly touch on the benefits and uses of polarized lenses. When you are outdoors, light reflected from certain surfaces such as a flat road, glistening snow or water can be visible through regular lenses. In these particular instances instead of the light being scattered, it becomes horizontal. This creates an intensity of light that we experience as glare. Polarized lenses have a specialized filter which blocks this type of intense reflected glare. For certain sports such as skiing in which skiers rely on glare to alert them to hazards, these lenses would not be recommended. However for the most part if you enjoy any type of outdoor sports or recreation polarized lenses may be an excellent choice of protective eye wear.

Regardless of which type of sunglasses you choose to wear, it is absolutely vital that you make sure that your young children and/or your teenagers are as well protected from the suns rays as you are. Their eyes, in some instances, may be even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV than yours.

Categories: Considering LASIK

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