Eye Protection and the Importance of Wearing Sunglasses
Remember the old sayings a stitch in time saves nine and an ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure? Eye protection and the importance of wearing sunglasses relates to these old but valuable sayings passed on from one generation to the next. Whether one chooses to wear designer sunglasses or drugstore varieties the topic is important.
"A stitch in time saves nine" relates to mending a small tear in clothing prior to it becoming a more major repair requiring more thread and time.
"An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure" relates to taking care of one's health so as to not incur the bad effects of illness and all the costs and time involved in trying to recapture the status of feeling good again.
Wearing sunglasses fits into this category of prevention and maintaining the health of one's eyes.
My husband just had cataract surgery in both eyes. The ophthalmologist operated on the worst eye first followed up a week later by an operation on my husband's other eye.
Fortunately even the first day post-op my husband's vision tested 20/20 which is wonderful.
His cataracts formed over time so he did not realize the subtleties of the diminishing of his vision and took what he was seeing as standard.
The brightness of colors and brightness of light was dazzling to him once he recovered his vision! When looking at our cat Peaches what he thought was a cream color all this time he realized was white fur.
He no longer sees rings around street lights at night.
Cataracts which is literally a clouding of the lens inside of the eye can develop for various reasons.
- A sudden blow to the head can result in a traumatic cataract being formed.
- Children born to mothers who have rubella (or German measles) can develop cataracts.
- People who take large doses of steroids can develop cataracts.
- Apparently heavy abuse of alcohol can also precipitate early cataract formation.
- Certain dietary deficiencies can also impact cataract formation among other causes.
- Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is probably one of the main reasons for the formation of cataracts forming in senior adults.
One of the prime preventative measures a person can take is to always wear sunglasses while outside especially during the hours between 10 AM and 3 PM when the sun is the brightest and UV rays from the sun are the strongest.
That "ounce of protection" prevention needs to start early with one's children also wearing sunglasses since UV damage to the eyes is cumulative.
The use of properly fitting sunglasses with adequate ultraviolet and blue light protection can help prevent this painful condition of photokeratitis.
Have you ever experienced a painful sunburn of the skin?
Photokeratitis is like a sunburn to the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye which happens due to exposure to bright light like that of the sun or a welder's torch without having adequate eye protection.
Prior to sunglasses being fashioned as we know them today, early people like the Inuits living in Alaska and other places where the sun shining on the snow caused a type of "snow blindness," they learned to protect their eyes from just such an assault.
They cut slits in antler horns and tied them to cover their eyes while in bright light. The slits in the horns worn to protect their eyes allowed them to see out but cut much of the damaging UV light which caused their pain.
Undoubtedly many had suffered from photokeratitis perhaps not recognizing the cause. Feelings of grittiness in the eyes as though their eyes were filled with grains of sand, excess tearing and extreme pain are some of the symptoms.
Another old saying: "Necessity is the mother of invention."
Today we do not have to fashion eye protection by killing an animal and using a portion of their horns like the Inuits did, but we can easily choose some well fitting designer spectacles to prevent the onset of photokeratitis.
Recovering from photokeratitis can take up to three days and staying in a darkened room while pupil size gets back to normal. Cold compresses over the eyes, artificial tears and pain medication are the at home remedies.
Better to prevent such an occurrence by wearing sunglasses than having to treat it and live through the pain and discomfort afterwards!
Preventing Cancer of the Eye
Did you think that wearing sunglasses was merely a fashion statement? Think again!
Most people now know that long term sun exposure can not only cause wrinkles to the skin but also cause more serious conditions like melanoma (cancer of the skin) to occur.
Melanomas can kill a person!
Because of knowing that, most people now know to wear suntan lotions to protect their skin from being overexposed to the sun.
Your eyes need that same protection!
Sunglasses are vitally important to prevent serious damage to the thin lining inside of the eye called the retina.
The retina acts like a film developer transmitting images you see into chemical impulses that are sent to the brain which interprets what we are seeing.
If damage to the retina occurs, obviously this is going to affect not only our vision, but also possibly our lives in the case of the formation of cancer.
Yes, we can develop cancerous melanoma of the eye just like skin melanoma!
One major way to prevent that from happening is to wear sunglasses when exposed to bright lights. But don't be fooled! Even on cloudy days during sunlight hours damaging ultraviolet light can still damage not only your skin but also your eyes.
Are you starting to realize the importance of eye safety by wearing sunglasses?
This is another reason to wear sunglasses!
Have you ever seen a person with a pink colored growth going from the inside corner of his eye migrating (as it grows) to the center of the eye?
Eventually that vascular growth can obstruct vision if it gets to the pupil area. No longer is there a clear window of the cornea to look through with that pterygium growing over it.
Corneal scarring can also happen as well as altering the curvature of the normal cornea causing astigmatism all of which impairs normal vision.
At that point some type of surgical intervention is needed in order to restore sight.
Can you guess the cause of pterygiums given the subject matter of this post?
Exposure to the sun without protecting one's eyes with sunglasses is the prime cause of the growth of pterygiums.
Pterygium removal from Harvard Eye Associates
People who spend a lot of time in the sun like surfers, snow boarders, skiers and the like are most at risk. Not only are the normal rays of the sun damaging but the sun being reflected off of water or snow can do additional damage.
Fortunately there are some special sunglasses which are specially constructed to stay on the faces of such athletes.
Are you a surfer? Do you or someone you know like snow sports which keeps them outdoors in bright light?
There are other types of exposure but these are some prime examples.
Whether it is you or your child or someone else that is close to you, do yourself or them a favor and encourage the use of sunglasses.
Who wants to have to undergo surgery for things like pterygiums if they can be primarily avoided by just wearing a good pair of sunglasses?
After my husband's eyes were successfully operated on for cataract removal and new lens implants were inserted, he asked his ophthalmologist what type of sunglasses he would recommend.
There are many good designer brands of sunglasses available for purchase, but out of the many choices the ophthalmologist recommended his personal favorite.
Maui Jim sunglasses were the ones he touted.
Out of all the designer sunglasses out there I will admit to not having heard of Maui Jim.
Now my husband has a reason to shop since his prescription glasses are no longer needed. He will certainly take a look at the Maui Jim sunglasses among other choices this coming week.
The prices on these Amazon offerings give one a significant savings over paying full price in retail brick and mortar establishments.
My hubby likes to shop and after some price comparison shopping, I wouldn't be surprised if he does not come right back to this post and order his sunglasses online.
This is the brand of sunglasses my husband's surgeon recommended. There are many different styles available as well as price points.
Sunglasses as Fashion Accessories
Sunglasses have been worn through the years by many people with more thought as to their looks and design and how it accessorizes the rest of their outfits than for their prime function of protecting one's eyes.
Many movie stars and others have vast collections of sunglasses just as they also collect jewelry to be worn for different occasions.
If one has the money and inclination to wear sunglasses as a fashion accessory that is fine.
Just make sure to purchase the sunglasses from reputable stores because if one is purchasing knock offs from people selling sunglasses on the streets, while the style may be to one's liking, there is no assurance that the UV protection is what is needed for eye protection.
Whether one chooses just a pair or two of designer sunglasses or even the drug store variety to own, the main thing to remember is to wear your sunglasses!
Sunglasses will not do one any good if left in a pocket, drawer, purse or in one's glove compartment of a motor vehicle.
They need to be worn on one's face!
Wearing of Sunglasses
By now any reader of this post will have gained enough information as to the importance of wearing sunglasses.
Eye protection is necessary to ward off some of the medical conditions listed above as well as others.
Suffice it to say that buying designer sunglasses or others with no designer labels but with proper ultraviolet protection is what is most important. Look for labels showing "UV 400" in the United States.
Above all consistently wear your sunglasses in good health.
Do you regularly protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses?
© 2011 Peggy Woods