A complete sunglasses lens guide

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Bollwitt on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Bollwitt on Flickr

As the days get longer and summer approaches, you might just find yourself spending more time outdoors. Whatever you have planned, from driving on vacation, spending time on the beach or participating in your favorite sport, having the right type of sunglasses can make those activities more enjoyable. Understanding the available lens options will help to enhance the time you spend outside.

Whatever outdoor activity you partake in, utilizing glasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection can protect your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun. UV rays can cause early cataract formation, macular degeneration and other aging effects. All sunglasses lenses should provide protection from UVA and UVB rays.

The right tint color can enhance your outdoor activities by eliminating glare, reducing eyestrain and providing better depth perception. Lens tints may block certain colors while enhancing others. Contrast may be increased with certain tints.

  • Grey lenses provide decreased brightness and glare while maintaining normal color perception; useful very bright conditions.
  • Brown lenses block blue light to improve contrast and depth perception, but change color perception; great for overcast to sunny weather.
  • Yellow lenses are useful in lowlight and hazy conditions and also enhance contrast; useful in indoor as well.
  • Green lenses provide mild increase contrast with maintaining color perception; another good general-purpose lens.
  • Pink and red lenses provide increased contrast but also alter color perception; can be useful in snowy conditions.
  • Polarized lenses are another lens option for your sunglasses. These lenses are available in different tints and decrease glare by use special filter to block glare of flat surfaces such as roads or water; may block certain LCD or LED screens.
  • Photochromatic lenses change colors or darken depending on the amount of UV light. These lenses are useful in variable or changing light conditions. However, these lenses may not fully darken while you are inside a vehicle.
  • Anti-reflective coatings are often used on the back surface of sunglasses to eliminate reflected glare.

Finally, the right lens material is important. Certain glasses may provide the best optical clarity and scratch resistance, but are not impact resistant. Plastic lenses are tintable and more lightweight than glass lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are the lightest weight and most impact resistant making them suitable for sport settings. Regardless of your lens selection, be sure to stay safe and have fun this summer.

~ John Barrón, O.D.
California Optometric Association
http://www.coavision.org
http://www.eyehelp.org

School is out! How to keep your child’s eyes healthy during summer

Photo courtesy of Andrew Eick on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Andrew Eick on Flickr

A few weeks ago we published a blog about how important it is for our children to spend time outdoors to prevent myopia. ‎

Being outdoors is great for helping to prevent nearsightedness and for exercising our eye focusing muscles, but you may wonder what else you need to do to make sure your child’s eyes stay healthy through the summer.

A few things come to mind.  It has become very common practice to never let our children leave the house with out sun protection: Sunblock, hats, UV blocking clothes and bathing suits. But, what is less common is remembering sunglasses for UV protection for the eyes.  Kids playing outdoors in the sun are exposing the lenses of their eyes and their retinas to harmful UV radiation.  Additionally, their lenses are so young that they do not block UV as well as adult lenses thus sending more UV to the retina.  UV damage to the lens and retina can by a cause of early cataracts and Macular Degeneration.  When buying sunglasses for kids, make sure that they are UV blocking and polarized if possible to reduce glare when around water. More information about children and sunglasses can also be found here.

Next, swim goggles are a good idea for the pool to help keep chlorine out of the eyes.  Chlorine can cause redness, burning, and blurry vision as well.  An added bonus would be swim goggles with a little tint or UV protection as well. If your child experiences these symptoms after playing in the pool, ask your eye doctor what eye drops are right to use to help.

Lastly, the use of sports goggles for eye protection during sports activities is also a must for eye injury prevention while playing soccer, baseball and any other outdoor sports.  For more information about preventing eye injury this summer, here is another great resource.

Enjoy your summer, enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine and stay eye healthy and safe!

~Lisa Weiss, OD, FAAO
California Optometric Association
http://eyehelp.org

http://www.coavision.org

 

 

 

 

Summer & your eyes: Swimming pools

Yay – Summer is officially here!

School is out and we finally get to spend some serious time in the pool. But before you jump in, here are a few quick safety tips for you and your eyes:

Photo courtesy of Andrew Eick on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Andrew Eick on Flickr

  • The pH of our eyes is 7.2, so can you guess what the recommended pH is for your pool? (hint: it’s 7.2!) Remember to check the pH levels in your pool at least once or twice a week and try to keep it in the range of 7.0-7.6.
  • Chemical conjunctivitis or red eyes can occur due to chlorine exposure in swimming pools. Having a little after a day in the pool is okay, but if it persists into the next day or if it seems to be getting worse, call your optometrist and ask to have your eyes checked that same day.
  • As a general rule, contact lenses should never be worn in the pool. Doing so puts you at risk for a variety of possible infections, including a fungal infection called Fusarium keratitis that is difficult to treat and can lead to permanent blindness. (The only exclusion to this rule is for my daily disposable contact lens patients under the strict condition that their contacts are thrown out as soon as they leave the pool.)
  • Prescription goggles are available and can be fairly inexpensive! If you rely on your glasses to see, talk to your optometrist about prescription goggles for use in the pool.
  • And if you plan to be hanging out around the pool this summer, remember that sunglasses are just as important for protecting your eyes as sunblock is for protecting your skin. Make sure yours have UVA and UVB protection.

Have safe and fun summer!

~Ranjeet S. Bajwa, OD

Summer is coming – protect your eyes while having fun in the sun!

Summer is coming

Most of us understand that we need to protect our skin from UV rays to avoid sunburn and potential sun damage and skin cancer.  But, we often overlook the need to protect our eyes from these harmful UV rays as well.  UV damage can increase your risk of cataract, macular degeneration, pterygium (benign growths on the white part of the eye) and also damage the sensitive skin around the eyes.  The following four tips from the American Optometric Association will help you keep you and your family’s eyes healthy all summer and all year long in the sun.

Here’s what you need to know to protect your eyes:

  1. Wear protective eyewear any time your eyes are exposed to UV light, even on cloudy days and during winter months. Glare from snow on the ground can reflect UV into your eyes.
  2. Sunglasses should block out 99-100% of UVA and UVB radiation and screen out 75-90% of visible light.  Polarized lenses is a good way to do this because they can specifically block out the most prominent light rays while maintaining clear vision.
  3. Grey colored lenses are best. They reduce light sensitivity without altering the color of object and provide the most natural color vision without distortion
  4. Don’t forget your kids! They need sunglasses too as they tend to spend more time outdoors than adults do.

One last tip: Don’t forget about a good quality sunglasses  frame. It should be big enough to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes from the sun.

Use these tips to keep your eyes safe and healthy through all your outdoor activities.  As always, continue to get routine eye health and vision examinations yearly.

Enjoy the summer!

~Lisa M. Weiss, OD, MEd, FAAO