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Sunglasses... and six more weeks of winter?

Did our furry friend Punxatawney Phil see his shadow? Either way, spring is right around the corner, which makes it a great time to begin thinking about a good pair of shades!

It's easy to forget that the most important job of our sunglasses is to protect our eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Sunglasses do so much for our vision, but also for the health of our eyes. The sun gives off UV radiation that you can’t see or feel. In small doses, it can boost vitamin D, but too much of it can cause problems like sunburns and skin cancer. It can also damage your eyes. Sun damage may cause the conjunctiva (the thin membrane covering the white of your eye) to thicken and become irritated and inflamed. Sometimes the conjunctiva will begin to grow over the eye, and this is called a pterygium. Surgical removal is often necessary, as it can interfere with your vision.

Did you know that the effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in the eye are cumulative? Signs and symptoms of UVR damage are delayed by years and even decades. Ultraviolet rays can cause cataracts, wrinkles, droopy eyelids, and even skin cancer. Many are surprised to know that skin cancer in the eyelid is fairly common.

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of lifetime UVR exposure occurs before age 18. It is so important to encourage your children to wear good, UV protected sunglasses. Children often spend even more time in the sun than adults, and need proper UV protection just as much. Children have larger pupils and clearer lenses inside the eye. This means that more sunlight, and therefore, more UVR, gets into the eye and can cause damage. It is also far more common to find cheap children's sunglasses that do not provide adequate UV protection. Always make sure that your children's sunglasses have proper UV protection.

So what should you look for when shopping for a pair of sunglasses? There are currently no federal sunglass requirements regarding UV protection, light transmission levels or lens quality. The American Optometric Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Prevent Blindness America recommend that sunglasses block 99% to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

The best type of sunglass lens is actually a polarized lens. Only polarized lenses block both reflected and scattered light from hitting your eyes. All of the glare you experience from reflected sunlight off of car windshields and water surfaces will be reflected away from your eye with polarized lenses. This not only protects your eyes, but aides in the best vision on a bright, sunny day.

We are proud to announce that we will be carrying the exclusive Maui Jim brand of sunglasses beginning in mid-February! Stay tuned for additional announcements on our upcoming new product lines!

Polarized Lenses

Polarized Lenses

Eye HealthLaura Branstetter