Sunny Days Ahead: The Importance of Sunglasses

Warmer weather has arrived, and that means many of us will be spending more time outside. Enjoying time in the sun can be very beneficial to your health, but it is vital that you take precautions due to the sun’s harmful rays. For instance, you wear sunscreen to protect your skin from developing skin cancer or burning. Your eyes can also burn if you do not take precautions and wear sunglasses. With May being UV Awareness Month and National Sunglasses Day approaching in June, we decided to focus our blog on making sure our patients protect their eyes this summer. 

Choosing the right pair

Not all sunglasses are the same. That cheap pair you purchased at the dollar store may look cute, but that does not mean your eyes are protected. When choosing a pair of sunglasses, there are several things you need to consider. (Source)

  1. Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. 
  2. Look for a pair that has a shade of UV400, which means the lenses can block out both UVA and UVB rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. 
  3. Go big! Larger sunglasses are better because they cover more of the area around your eyes.
  4. When it comes to lens tint, choose the shades that are the best for you. If you spend a lot of time playing outdoor sports, then yellow or amber lenses are the way to go. For activities like water skiing and hunting, purple or rose lenses are a good option because these colors make seeing objects with a blue or green background easier. Black, gray, and green lenses are a great option for anyone who doesn’t want colors to be altered by their lenses.
  5. Cheap isn’t always better. Use caution when buying cheaper sunglasses. Always check to see what, if any, UV protection they offer. 
  6. For the best protection, choose glass lenses. However, coated plastic lenses provide excellent protection as well. 
  7. If you’re concerned about dealing with a glare, then look into polarized lenses. 

Photokeratitis and Other Health Conditions

Just like your skin, you can suffer a sunburn in your eyes. This is called photokeratitis. You don’t have to be exposed to the sun’s rays very long to get a sunburn in your eyes. Photokeratitis affects the thin surface layer of the cornea. It can also impact the conjunctiva, which is the clear tissue that covers the white part of your eye and the insides of your eyelids. The good news is that this condition often goes away on its own after one to two days, however, it can be uncomfortable to deal with. Individuals who suffer from photokeratitis tend to deal with blurred vision, pain, and temporary vision loss. The severity of symptoms increases the longer you are in the sun. 

Exposure to the sun’s rays over a longer period of time can increase your risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration. These can take years to develop, but every single time you look directly at the sun without sunglasses on, your risk increases.

How We Can Help

At Drs. Kapperman, White & McGarvey, our experienced technicians can help you select the perfect pair of shades for you. Each person’s preference is different, so we offer a variety of options. We want our patients to have fun outside and enjoy the sun. At the same time, however, we consider our patients to be family, and we want to protect them and keep them safe.