Health Care

Don’t forget your sunglasses

March 30, 2019
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It is officially springtime in Michigan and that means warmer weather, blooming flowers and more sunshine. While many people think of sunglasses simply as a fun fashion accessory, they also can be the most important pair of glasses you own.

When you’re headed outdoors, don’t forget to grab your shades, since they’re essential for maintaining healthy vision.

Why wear sunglasses?

Most people know that the sun’s rays can be damaging to your skin, but they also can be dangerous for your eyes. UV exposure can contribute to eye diseases, including:

  • Cataract formation, which causes clouding of the lens inside the eye resulting in blurred vision and may require surgery
  • Macular degeneration, which destroys central vision and is the leading cause of blindness in the United States
  • Pterygium, a fleshy overgrowth of the conjunctiva or “white” of the eye, which may become red and painful
  • Cancer of the eye, eyelid or nearby skin

For some, bright sunlight also can be a trigger for bad headaches or even migraines. By remembering to wear your shades, you can reduce the risk of sun-related eye diseases as well as headache-inducing eye strain.

What to look for in a new pair

Look for sunglasses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s rays are the strongest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but we still need protection throughout the day. Even on overcast days we need sunglasses because clouds do not fully block harmful UV rays.

Consider polarized lenses, which contain a filter that reduces unwanted glare occurring from light reflected off of smooth surfaces such as water, roads and windshields. These types of lenses are popular among people who spend a lot of time outside and enjoy activities such as jogging, fishing, boating, biking or just relaxing on the beach. Polarized sunglasses also result in safer driving conditions by reducing glare and improving vision quality and comfort, especially on sunny days.

Be sure to find frames that fit well so that you can wear your sunglasses comfortably all day long. For those who don’t wear contacts, your eye doctor can fit your new eyeglass prescription into sunglasses. Having multiple pairs may be helpful so you are never without your shades. Have a pair in the car, your golf bag or boat, and a pair at home.

Keeping in style

While sunglasses are extremely important for maintaining eye health, they still can be fun. When you find a pair of shades that complement your personal style and overall look, you are more likely to wear them every day. Work with your optician to find a pair of sunglasses that fit your face shape and that won’t slip or slide throughout the day.

By remembering your shades this season, not only will you keep your eyes safe and healthy, but you’ll be sure to enjoy worry-free time outdoors and look great while doing it!