Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun this Summer
Pediatric Eye Clinic
Many don’t realize that UV protection is not only important for your skin, it is important for your eyes as well. Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes, without the smell/stick, and with all the style! If that is not compelling enough, know that constant unprotected exposure to UV sunlight can cause:
- Macular Degeneration – a debilitating eye disease that can cause central blindness
- Early onset Cataracts – a yellowing of the lens in your eye that causes blurred vision and “haloes around lights” or glare especially while driving at night
- Pterygium/Pingueculas – yellow gel-appearing sun spots on the whites of your eye. When advanced, it can cause astigmatism and dry eyes
- Premature Wrinkles – there is no skin cream or remedy on this earth that can cure wrinkles if your eyes and skin are left unprotected from UV
- Melanomas – cancer of the eye, similar to skin cancer
Which is better: transitions or sunglasses?
Short answer: both! Transitions are the technology in your regular glasses that can turn dark when outside, and back to clear when inside. Some patients get frustrated with the slow turn rate, but there are newer technologies where they can turn more quickly or stay dark in the car. Transitions are great for walking in between buildings and for quick spurts of outdoor exposure. If you’re outside for a long period of time or at the beach for instance, you will want to have a full pair of sunglasses for more coverage. This helps prevents light rays from seeping in from the top/bottom/sides of your glasses.
Are polarized glasses good?
Absolutely! Polarized sunglasses reduce glare from the sun and patients usually report that they provide more comfort. They provide the same amount of UV protection as regular sunglasses, but may be more ideal for people fishing or doing outdoor sports. *** Exception: you do NOT want to wear polarized sunglasses if you are performing snow sports or if you are a pilot!
I mostly need sunglasses when I drive, is that okay?
Sunglasses in the car are more for comfort than sun protection, as car windshields have UV protection. This is why some transitions don’t get activated inside the car. Hence, the most important protection needed is when you are outside.
How and where do I find quality sunglasses?
When it comes to sunglasses, you definitely want to make sure that the quality is legitimate. Ideally, you want sunglasses that are labeled for 100% UV protection, but you want to make sure the seller is also reputable. Genuine brand name sunglasses are also recommended.
Do my kids need sunglasses?
Most sun damage occurs before the age of 18, so get your kids in sunglasses as early as possible, and get them well adapted at a young age!
What other ways can I protect my eyes from sun damage?
There are also UV-blocking contact lenses, be sure to ask us. They don’t cover the whites of the eyes or the skin around the eyes; but again, they are better than nothing and are an added barrier from UV entering your eyes! I also recommend hats for our fishers, gardeners, boaters, sailors, and outdoor sun worshippers of the like.
Wishing you a fun and sun-filled summer!
Pediatric Eye Clinic.
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