In Australia, every day – whether it is sunny or cloudy, and despite the season – we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most of the time we don’t even realize it, considering UV rays are invisible to the eye. However, just as sun can damage your skin (burning, wrinkling, skin cancer and premature aging) it can be just as nasty on your eyes.
Unprotected exposure over long periods of time can, and often does, damage the eye. This exposure can greatly increase the chances of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. These conditions can seriously impair vision and are usually impossible to reverse.
Fortunately, vision damage can be prevented by shading your eyes from UV rays. Wearing sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection can significantly reduce the risk of vision problems caused by sunlight. Wrap-around frames and large lenses can also help to provide an extra measure of protection.
The sun’s glare can also pose a risk to ones health, severely affecting visual acuity and comfort. There are four levels of glare:
Distracting glare caused by lens reflections. This is usually a minor annoyance, but can also result in eye fatigue.
Discomforting glare caused by bright lights. This type of glare also results in eye fatigue, often as a result of constant squinting.
Disabling glare caused by excessive, intense light, which blocks vision. Blinding glare caused by reflections from smooth surfaces, such as roads, water or snow. Blinding glare can be dangerous as it blocks vision in critical situations (i.e. driving or skiing).
Luckily, there are multiple ways to reduce glare, including anti-reflective lenses, fixed-tint lenses or polarized lenses.
Constant advances in technology and style options can give you a competitive edge that will help you to see better and look great. There has never been a better time to build an eyewear wardrobe that suits your personality and lifestyle, and enables you to always be on top of your game – whether at work or at play.
Consider the following options when selecting the perfect sunwear lenses for your lifestyle:
Photochromic Lenses: These changeable lenses automatically darken and lighten to provide the right level of protection and comfort over a wide range of light conditions.
Polarized Lenses: Polarized lenses work exceptionally well to filter out reflected glare from shiny surfaces like water, pavement and dashboards. They improve contrast and visibility while reducing squint and eyestrain.
Impact Resistant Lenses: All sunglasses which meet Australian Standards have impact resistant lenses. Until recently the only lens material recommended for high impact or competitive sport use was polycarbonate. Now there are new high strength lens materials, including polyurethane, which bring new performance options.
Tints: Certain tints that control the amount and type of light that reaches the eye can improve performance by enhancing contrast, colors and visibility. Click here for popular tint options.
Anti-reflective Lenses: These lenses dramatically reduce distracting reflections, improving contrast, visual acuity and comfort in difficult lighting situations.
There are a wide variety of frame materials which can impact performance, durability and comfort such as titanium, memory metals, stainless steel and numerous high-tech options in “plastic.” Style features such as non-slip bridges, gripper temples, spring hinges, shields, wraps and venting systems add value and comfort and pump up your performance at the same time. Sun clips and sunwear that fits directly over prescription eyewear are also available to meet specific needs. Talk to your eyecare professional for recommendations on sunwear that fits your lifestyle.
Aside from the important function of guarding the eyes from sun-related eye diseases and harmful glare, sunwear can also provide a variety of comfort and vision benefits, such as:
Protecting the eyes from wind, dust and pollen
Helping to comfort dry eyes
Preserving good night vision (when worn during the day and not at night)
Reducing tearing and squinting
And don’t forget about the kids! You wouldn’t send your children to the beach without sunscreen, so don’t send them without sunglasses either. Children’s developing eyes let in more UV rays than adults’; and since children tend to spend a majority of their time outdoors, sunglasses with the most impact-resistant lenses are a must for all kids. Remember, EVERYONE is at risk from UV-related eye damage!