By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
With summer well underway, many people are going to be spending time outside. Our children are going to be playing at the pool or in the yard with their friends, and our parents might be spending their time gardening or playing with their grandchildren. But every time we go outside into the sun, our eyes are exposed to ultraviolet rays. July is UV Safety Month, and is the perfect time to learn why you should encourage your family to protect their eyes from the sun’s rays.
It is estimated that up to 80 percent of UV damage done to our eyes in our lifetime occurs by the time we’re 18. The damage done by UV rays accumulates over the years, leading to an increased risk of permanent eye damage or disease. UV light is absorbed by the lens of the eye and over time can cause damage that may contribute to the progression of cataract development, macular degeneration, and abnormal growths on the surface of the eye.
However, not enough children wear sunglasses. While 1 in 3 children above the age of 14 wear sunglasses regularly, less than 1 in 8 below the age of 10 do.
And don’t forget to remind your parents to wear their sunglasses, too, as this can help slow down the development of cataracts. A cataract is a condition that primarily affects the older population. The lens of the eye becomes cloudy, which leads to blurry or decreased vision as we get older. Millions of surgeries are performed each year to replace these cloudy lenses. While sunglasses won’t completely prevent cataracts, they can help slow them down.
A pair of good quality sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses with near-100 percent UVA and UVB protection can help protect your children and parents from these dangers. Polycarbonate is an extremely impact-resistant lens and is a natural UV filter, blocking most of the damaging UV rays. Polycarbonate is also a very lightweight lens material.
And while July is UV Safety Month, wearing sunglasses is smart year-round. Winter months can be just as bad for the presence of UV light as the summer. Sun reflecting off the snow can cause just as much UV exposure as a day at the beach, so it’s important to get you, your children, and your parents in the habit of wearing sunglasses whenever they’re outside.
“I recommend sunglasses to most of my patients for the UV protection as well as the increased visual image,” CEENTA Optometrist Michael Spicola, OD, said. “Everybody should wear sunglasses at some point.”
You can buy sunglasses at any of CEENTA’s 12 optical shops. Frames are available in many styles, shapes, and colors, and CEENTA’s trained opticians will help you make the right choice for your needs.
To find a CEENTA optical shop near you, visit their Optical & Contacts web page.