Wearing sunglasses can’t prevent sweltering heat, but eyestrain and fatigue might be avoided with prescription sunglasses. Photokeratitis is eye damaged caused by very bright light. For most people ultraviolet (UV) is responsible for the light damage to eyes. This includes not only photokeratitis but also cataracts. It is believed that long-term exposure to the shorter wavelength or UVB rays can hasten the development of this growth.
The best remedy is a good deal of prevention in the form of sunglasses, which block 98% to 100% of these harmful UVA (longer light waves) and UVB radiation. Ideally, the manufacturers label should read “UV 400 protection” on the lenses.
Worst Light Scenarios
The intensity of light increases at higher elevations by about 4% per 1000 feet above sea level. Thus the potential for damage is greater for those who spend more time outdoors in the mountains for example. Mountain climbing calls for greater concern over eye protection. So does mountain biking. And of course, snow blindness, an alternate name for photokeratitis, can be caused by the snow reflection, especially on mountain ski runs. The reflective potential of snow is in fact around 85% so winter sports or driving require sunglasses as well as those enjoyed during warm weather.
Summer sunlight is more direct and it lasts more hours of the day. To make matters worse cooling off often means lounging by the pool or finding a lake or ocean shore. All are highly light reflective and cause extreme light exposure. Concrete and sand often reflect as much as 25% of the sun’s light. Water may reflect up to 100% of the light that hits it and pools are usually not shaded. Water parks have water that splashes and surrounds the enthusiastic patrons.
What time do these parks typically open for business, incidentally? That’s right! And that’s exactly the worst time for sun damage. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the summer’s sun is at it’s worst. Light damage may take hours to become noticeable. Red skin and eyes show up later when nothing much other than time will heal them.
The Best Sunglasses For Serious Summer Light
Polarized sunglasses are the best idea for those, like fishermen, who stare at water for long periods of time. Some of these are so good that virtually all glares are gone from view. Many prefer colored lenses that perform better in different settings. Yellow lenses are sometimes known as blue blockers and are a favorite of aviators because they make objects in the sky more easily seen. Regardless of the type of lens color it is always necessary to have UVA and UVB protection as close to 100% as possible.
Most sunglasses sold in the USA have this feature but some very expensive designer sunglasses manufactured for sale outside of the states do not. Always do some consumer reading before choosing a brand. There’s more than fashion involved in this purchase. Hopefully, when ordering prescription sunglasses the problem won’t exist but find out first.
Not all shapes and styles will prove to reduce enough light entering into the eyes either. Wire frames or so-called Ben Franklin’s, for example, won’t stop light from entering the areas around the eyes. Consider frames and lenses that fit snugly all around the eye. A wrap around style that touches the face at most points will be the best. Darker lenses and dark plastic frames will reduce discomfort the best. However, they won’t necessarily stop more UV radiation. Office workers who sit in direct sunlight might find that transition lenses will make their jobs easier too.
Take a little time when searching for children’s sunglasses. Too many of these are made as toys rather than vision protection. Prescription sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses are best for those with vision that is less than perfect. Impact resistance as well as glare prevention are preferred for summer sports. Clip on type sunglass covers will work much of the time.
Here again though, the standard issue prescription eyeglasses aren’t made to wrap around the face. Light will still enter from all directions. As soon as vision correction and outdoors sports are needed it’s time to consider the better brands of prescription sunglasses.