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There’s something wonderful about the summer months when the sun is shining strong and the air is warm. Since the days are longer and the weather is nicer, people spend more time outside during the summer than during other months. Whether it’s packing up for a trip to the beach or heading out on the town for a day, one thing that lands itself on everyone’s list is sunglasses.

Sunglasses can be worn for style, like our favourite designer sunglasses, or they can be worn for eye health. Whatever your reasoning may be, it’s important to remind yourself that the sun can easily damage your precious peepers, even in the depth of winter. The powerful light energy from the sun doesn’t waver after summer ends.

The harmful UV rays from the sun can cause serious damage to unprotected eyes. We recommend wearing sunglasses anytime you go outside during the day so you can protect your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium.

  • Cataracts: The lens of the eye develops a cloudy layer that leads to foggy vision. It is estimated by the National Eye Institute that 20 percent of cataracts cases are caused by UV exposure. That means about 500,000 of the 2.5 million Canadians with cataracts could have prevented the disease by wearing sunglasses.
  • Macular degeneration: A disease that can lead to blindness is not one to be reckoned with. Macular degeneration is generally caused by either the middle of the retina deteriorating, fatty deposits under the retina accumulating, or leaky blood vessels growing under the retina.
  • Pterygium: A piece of tissue grows over the white part of the eyeball that can change the curve of the eye itself, which leads to astigmatism.

Fun Facts About Sunglasses

  • The darker the lens doesn’t necessarily mean the protection is better.
  • Medium-tinted lenses are recommended for daily use.
  • Cost shouldn’t play a factor in eye protection quality. Look instead for a label that says the UV protection level — a higher protection level is better.
  • Gray, amber, brown, or green lenses offer the best colour contrast for eye protection, while red, orange, blue, or purple lenses can cause distortion and let in too much light.
  • Large-framed shades that fit closely to the face offer the best protection.

Again, the sun doesn’t care what time of year it is when it sends out UV rays. So, to protect yourself from cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium, wear sunglasses all year. It’s the same idea as wearing sunblock to protect your skin, only the sunglasses protect your eyes.

Vision Care Centre is a local eyeglasses shop in Langley that has a great selection of sunglasses, too. Stop in to find a pair that’ll work for you all year — or maybe more than one pair if you want to switch up your style!

As an optometrist, we can also create prescription sunglasses for you so you can see clearly and protect your eyes at the same time. No need to sacrifice one for the other!

Swing by the shop to find some sunglasses for you, or make an appointment to discuss prescription sunglasses. We’re happy to help.