Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun

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Everybody loves the benefits they receive from the sun.  Vitamin D, enhanced liver function, reduced stress and more physical exercise are just a few of many positive aspects the sun brings to us.  Today’s society is more aware of the damaging effects that too much sun light can cause.  Many people understand the importance of protecting their skin from the sun but just as many people do not realize how detrimental it is to protect your eyes from the ultra violet (UV) radiation that can damage your cornea and cause many problems.  Over exposure to sunlight on your skin will give you an almost instant “sun burn” and nobody likes sun burns.  That is why using a high SPF sun screen is a top priority to beach goers.  Unlike your skin, you will not feel the immediate “sun burn” effect on your eyes but rather over time.  Unprotected exposure to the sun can increase the possible risk of certain types of cataracts and potentially damage the retina, which could lead to total blindness.

There are two important ways to protect your eyes from the sun.  Multi vitamins and a good pair of sunglasses.  Everybody enjoys a couple of slices of pizza or a juicy cheese burger once in a while but if your diet is consistently unhealthy you should consider a multi vitamin and mineral supplement containing ample reserves of vitamins A, C, E, EFAs, lutein and zinc. All of these nutrients are important for preserving your eye health and well-being.

With that being said, you may have a great diet and exercise routine but all the cardio and green vegetables in the world will not protect your eyes from the direct assault of ultra violet radiation that the sun produces.  There are thousands of different sunglass styles available on the market.  Choosing the right style to enhance your appearance is great but looking good on the beach or in your convertible is incomparable to making sure those fashion sunglasses you are wearing will actually keep your eyes healthy.  The first step in choosing the right sunglasses is to make sure they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.  If the sunglasses do not come with a tag that states their UV protection do not purchase them.  Stay away from dollar store sunglasses.  Dollar store sunglasses are of poor quality and usually will not offer complete UV protection.   Unfortunately, the non-prescription sunglasses industry is weakly regulated and even bold words in its advertising such as “UV absorbing” or “blocks most UV light” might mean nothing.  By blocking visible light, sunglasses will cause your eyes to dilate slightly; and if the sunglasses are cheap with no UV protection, then even more UV might get into your eyes.  Price should not be an option when protecting your eyes.  A nice pair of $10 sunglasses can give you the same result as a $400 pair.

Polarized sunglasses are designed to cut the glare from surfaces like snow, water and glass.  Polarized sunglasses may be slightly more expensive than conventional lenses but they are favored among athletes, fisherman and drivers.  Fortunately in 1936, Edwin Land invented polarized lenses. The common theory behind polarization is based on the fact that ordinary light travels in a form of waves that will vibrate in all directions. The polarized sunglasses polarize light which makes the light vibrate in one direction. The sunglasses are all fabricated with the vertical polarization for blocking much of incident light and highly reducing glares.  A majority of polarized sunglasses are offered in a sport frame although fashion polarized sunglasses are also available.

Remember, safety first and fashion second.  Any reputable sunglass retailer is going to offer maximum UV protection with their sunglasses.  That is the easy part.  Once you know your eyes will be safe then you can have fun enhancing your appearance for any occasion.

 

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