Alamo Optometry Blog

May 11, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

Filed under: Uncategorized — gkblog @ 8:56 pm

(As appeared in Alamo Today, May 2011, pg. 26)

Now that the summer months are coming, it is time to make sure you have a good pair of UV-blocking polarized sunglasses.  To help my patients in this regard, we are having a month-long sunglass sale for May.  Every pair of sunglasses in the office is going to be 15% off in May.  We have many different brands to choose from including Maui Jim, Oakley, Kate Spade, Coach, Gucci, and Juicy Couture.  Most of the frames can also be made with prescription including single vision, bifocals, and progressives.  If you are not currently a patient in the office, we invite you to come and look at your selection and bring your prescription with you.  We look forward to seeing everyone to help ramp up your eye protection for the summer months.

            A question I often get at the office is regarding sun protection and what is the best way to protect the eyes.  My answer is always to have a good pair of UV-blocking sunglasses to be worn year round.  The important fact to remember is that the tint of the lenses makes absolutely no difference for sun protection, and in some cases clear lenses can block as much ultraviolet light as sunglasses.  The UV filter is a clear coating that is applied to the lenses and does not impact the appearance and light transmission to the eye.  For people that do not like the dark lenses of sunglasses, clear lenses will also work if they are made of polycarbonate, which is a lighter, impact-resistant material that comes with a scratch and UV coating.

            For those of you who are outdoor enthusiasts or just enjoy being outside will definitely enjoy the clarity and contrast that polarized lenses offer.  Most prescription and non-prescription polarized lenses come in gray or brown.  However, several companies have come out with several single vision polarized lenses in yellow, pink, green, orange, etc. to help tailor your lenses to a specific outdoor activity or activities that you enjoy.  Some of the activities that can be helped with these lenses include golf, fishing, skiing, and shooting.  In addition, Maui Jim has come out with a new high-definition lens that comes polarized and increases contrast.  A good example for these lenses is for golfers who will be able to pick up the undulations in the greens a little better due to the tint of the lenses.  We have some samples and information guides that can help us aid you in deciding the lens or lenses needed for all of your activities.

            The effects of ultraviolet exposure are generally long-term, but in some circumstances can be quick and painful.  For anyone who has had a UV-flash burn from welding or from receiving a lot of glare from the water or snow will know how painful this can be.  However, most exposure causes premature cataracts, skin melanomas, freckles, and pingueculas (those yellowish bumps on the white part of the area that often get irritated in dry or windy conditions).  Studies have shown that we receive almost 75% of our total UV radiation by the time we are 18 years old; therefore it is important that our kids have sun protection.  Obviously there is no need to spend a lot on these glasses; but keep in mind if your child wears glasses, as long as the lenses are made of polycarbonate and/or have transitions lenses; they have all of the protection they need.  If not, most over-the-counter glasses come with the UV filter in the lenses.  Regardless of age, race, sex, or activity level, we all need proper sun wear to help combat the harmful rays from the sun.  We look forward to helping you look good, see good, and protect yourself this summer and beyond.

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