Towel, swim suit, flip flops, a cooler full of drinks, a bag of snacks, and sunscreen are common items to grab as you run out the door to the neighborhood pool, waterpark, or beach. With the sun blazing down there is nothing better than taking a dip in the water to cool off while you kick back and relax and enjoy the summer. Did you notice the one important item left of this list? Your sunglasses.
Eye care is essential as you head out this summer to take that dip and cool off in the summer sun. The Ultra Violet rays of the sun, or UV rays, can harm more than burning your skin. UV rays can also have a negative effect on your eyes. By wearing the proper eye protection, you can help reduce the short term and long term effects of UV exposure to your eyes.
The short term exposure to high amounts of UV rays can be similar to your skin becoming sunburned. This is referred to as photo keratitis, and is considered a sunburn of the eye. Photo keratitis can be painful and is usually accompanied with symptoms such as, red eyes, the feeling of foreign object in your eyes, gritty feeling in the eyes, excessive tearing and sensitivity to light. These symptoms are usually temporary and rarely result in permanent damage.
Long term effects of high exposure to UV rays can include a greater risk of developing cataracts or developing macular degeneration in the later years of life. Wearing a hat with a wider brim and proper sunglasses can help to reduce your exposure to these damage causing rays of the sun.
With sunglasses coming in all shapes and sizes, it is important to insure that your sunglasses have the following features to help block out the most UV rays possible:
- Screen out 75-90 percent of visible light.
- Block out 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
- Have gray lenses to aid in proper color recognition.
If you spend a large amount of time outdoors consider wrap around style of glasses. This style blocks out the most light possible granting the most protection. Also, if you are involved in outdoor work or sports, be sure to have sunglasses that are impact resistant to prevent eye injuries from broken glasses entering the eye.
Remember as you grab your outdoor gear and get ready to hit up the pool, beach or spend time outdoors, to grab your sunglasses and eye protection. Don’t forget…the kids need sunglasses too. Prevention is the easiest way to help ensure that your vision lasts well into the future, keeping your head up and you moving forward.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.