Warmer weather means Sunglasses season!

Last week marked the first week of spring! After this long winter we’ve had, hopefully we have an abundance of warm weather and sunshine coming our way. With that in mind Id like to talk a little about sunglasses. Sunglasses have many benefits in both their prescription and nonprescription form.

When buying a pair of sunglasses make sure they block 100% of UV. We’ve all heard a lot about UV radiation by now and the harmful effects it can have on the body, and the eyes are certainly no exception to this. UV light is associated with a long list of eye problems including pinguecula (raised discolored masses on the white part of the eye), pterygium (fibrous growths over the cornea), cataracts and macular degeneration.

Of these, I find macular degeneration to be the most important since it can cause irreversible vision loss. Recent evidence has suggested that 50% of UV damage to the retina (where macular degeneration occurs) happens before age 18. So it is really important for kids to be wearing sunglasses. It’s a common site to see parents placing sunscreen on their children in the summertime to protect their skin–this beach season, don’t forget to protect their eyes as well!

Polarization is an important word when it comes to sunglasses. I’ll try to explain this concept as easy as possible: Light traveling through air has a plane orientation to it. It can be horizontal or vertical or anywhere in between. The light we most often interpret as glare is horizontal. This is light reflecting off flat surfaces such as the road and car hoods, or water. Polarized sunglasses are able to filter this light out, thus greatly reducing glare and improving clarity on a bright day.

As we head into (hopefully) many months of sunshine, don’t forget to protect your eyes! Ask the eye doctors or opticians at our Belle Meade or Hendersonville locations about the best sunglass option for you. Don’t forget that your vision insurance may be applied towards prescription sunglasses! Are you a contact lens wearer? You may notice that contacts actually increase light sensitivity—ask about sunglass options just for you!