By: Dr. Liz
You may be the type of person who never leaves the house without your sunglasses during the warmer months. Not only are they great protection from the sun’s glaring rays, but they’re also a very important fashion accessory. Did you know that sunglasses are just important in the winter as they are during the rest of the year especially at altitude?
Sunglasses play a big role in protective eye health. The UV rays from the sun are very strong all year round especially here in Colorado. These rays don’t always feel that way especially during the chilly winter months. Nevertheless we need to protect ourselves – eyes included – from their harmful affects.
Over time UV rays can lead to diseases of the eyes such as cataracts (clouding of the lens inside the eye that causes decreased vision), macular degeneration (loss of central vision) or even cancer in or around the eye, that may require surgery. Individuals with lighter skin or eyes may have a greater affect from sun exposure due to the lack of pigmentation. Think of what sunburn does to your skin. The same thing can happen to your eyeballs.
You know how bright the sun can be when it reflects off the snow and hits your eyes – it hurts, right? Add in the ultraviolet element and you have a greater chance of damaging your eyes. Putting on a pair of polarized sunglasses (UV of course) with antireflective coating can not only help to avoid the discomfort of the sun’s bright and harmful UV rays that are reflected off your eyes, but you’ll also be protecting your eyes and decreasing the chance of developing certain eye disease as well. So you see, sunglasses work double-duty (or even triple-duty if they compliment your appearance – wink, wink).
And don’t forget the kids. Even though children look adorable and make us smile when they put on a pair of cute, child-sized sunglasses, their eyes actually need protection the same as everyone else’s. So don’t hesitate to pick them up a pair the next time you are shopping for yourself.