Question: How can people protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays?
Dr. Eckard: A person can minimize their exposure time outside under bright, sunny conditions. While outside, they can take precautions such as wearing large brim hats, long sleeves and quality polarized sunglasses. Using suntan lotions with a significant SPF is also beneficial in reducing the harmful effects of the sun.
Question: Are sunglasses an important part of a sun protection plan?
Dr. Eckard: Sunglasses block UVA and UVB light and having polarized lenses reduce further glare and eye discomfort from the sun. Polarized lenses allow for better visual acuity, more vibrant color vision and improved depth perception in bright conditions.
Question: What type of sunglasses best protect from UV rays?
Dr. Eckard: Polarized sunglasses.
Question: I have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?
Dr. Eckard: Blue light from devices such as computer monitors, smart phones, tablets and readers, etc. can cause a reduced blink rate in patients contributing to eye fatigue, blurred vision, redness and dry eye syndrome.
Question: I’ve heard of getting my skin sunburned, but can your eyes also get sunburned?
Dr. Eckard: Yes, the eyes can be burned by directly looking at the sun. This causes solar retinopathy and can damage the central area of the retina known as the macula. This is the area responsible for our sharpest vision.
Question: Do darker sunglasses mean better sun protection?
Dr. Eckard: Not necessarily. A good quality UVA and UVB blocking lens with a polarized filter is always the best for sun protection.
Question: Does having a prescription make it harder to get the right sunglasses?
Dr. Eckard: Not necessarily. Most times a patient’s prescription can be put in polarized sunglasses. However, stronger prescriptions and those with significant astigmatism can sometimes be more difficult to put into sunglasses with a larger “wrap-around” style. Those prescriptions are best done in flatter, smaller frames.