Every Zoomer needs the right pair of sunglasses

As Canadians prepare to enjoy the summer weather ahead, are they thinking about how to protect their eyes? Many sun seeking people protect their skin, but often forget about their eyes.

During the summer month’s people are often outside enjoying the warm weather and sunshine, whether it’s in their backyard with their grandkids or enjoying a round of golf. It’s not enough to simply put on sunscreen and a hat as UV rays can have the same harmful effects on eyes as it does on skin.

The solution isn’t simply putting on just any pair of sunglasses. Did you know that wearing low quality sunglasses can actually be more harmful than going without?

Here are some tips to ensure that your eyes are properly protected.

  • Consider your lifestyle. People who spend time on the water will benefit from polarized lenses to reduce glare, while avid golfers should consider photochromic lenses that darken based on the level of light intensity or specific tints to enhance the contrast of the green.
  • Make sure sunglasses are the right fit. A proper fitting pair of sunglasses should feel comfortable for long periods of time, as well as provide optimal vision and protection on sunny days.
  • Not all sunglasses are created equal. Lower quality sunglasses may not protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and might actually be doing more harm than good. If the lenses are dark, they will cause your pupils to dilate, which lets in more UV rays.

When selecting the right pair of sunglasses, consider these steps:

  • Start by having a complete eye health and vision examination by a Doctor of optometry to determine the current health status of your eyes and identify any pervious sun damage.
  • Seek the assistance of an eyewear professional to help select a pair of sunglasses appropriate to your face shape, outdoor activities and prescription.
  • If you wear prescription glasses for reading consider prescription sunglasses with progressive lenses to allow for comfortable reading and near vision outdoors.
  • Ensure that the lenses offer 100% per cent UV protection.  UV rays have a cumulative effect over time and can lead to serious eye diseases that can’t always be cured. This is why the best line of defense is prevention through quality sunglasses that block out these harmful rays.
  • Look for sunglasses with a blue light filter. Blue light is high energy and is absorbed in the back of the eye contributing to blurry vision and macular degeneration.

Sunglasses are widely considered fashion accessories but it’s often easy to forget they also serve a more basic, but important purpose: to protect the eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.  People should be aware of the following effects:

  • Sunburn.  Exposure to UV rays reflected off surfaces can cause photokeratitis, which is essentially sunburn to the surface of the eyeball (cornea).
  • Age related-macular degeneration. AMD is the leading preventable cause of vision loss in Canadians over age 50. While there is no cure, proper UV and blue light protection  is a good preventive measure against AMD alongside healthy lifestyle and eating habits.
  • Wrinkles. A good quality pair of sunglasses helps protect the collagen elastic support network in the skin around the eyes.
  • Cancer. Eye lids and the sensitive skin around the eyes can develop squamous cell carcinoma or even melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
  • Cataracts. Long-term UV exposure increases the risk of developing cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens that causes blurred vision, affecting both distance and near vision.

Keep these tips in mind and visit your optometrist to ensure that their eyes are healthy and protected this summer.

Visit iris.ca/takeonthesun to learn more about protecting your eyes from the sun and visit iris.ca/exam to book an eye exam.