May is Healthy Vision Month
Well-made sunglasses do more than make you look like a movie star. They can protect your eyes from many problems, including those caused by the sun’s harmful rays. The American Optometric Association says you should always don sunglasses during the daylight hours because:
- They protect your eyes against the sun’s UV rays, which could otherwise lead to cataracts.
- They protect against “blue light” from the solar spectrum, which could increase your risk of macular degeneration.
- They lead to improved and more comfortable vision from not having to squint.
- They can make it easier to adapt to darkness. Exposure to bright light can make it more difficult to adjust to driving at night.
UV Radiation, City by City
We in Tampa Bay need to be especially vigilant about wearing sunglasses. Some cities have more total days per year with a high UV Index. The Index, calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service, shows the amount of radiation expected to reach the earth’s surface when the sun is highest in the sky.
The top five cities, and their total days of extreme and very high risk UV exposure are:
- San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 286 days
- Honolulu, 253
- Miami, 201
- Tampa Bay, 171
- New Orleans, 163
It’s not necessary to buy expensive sunglasses. Choose a pair that offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays since both types can damage vision. Look for a label that also says the sunglasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards, he says. Be sure the glasses are comfortable and that you feel you look good in them, so you will wear them more. And consider buying several pairs for yourself and your children so that they are more likely to be there when you need them.