Summer has officially begun! Are there any races, outings, or outside events on your calendar?
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to join a group of fitness bloggers all over the world to listen in on a webinar interview with Dr. Justin Bazan, O.D.
Dr. Bazan is a Medial Advisor to The Vision Council and Owner of Park Slope Eye. It was a very informative hour that left me wondering why the heck it took me so long to make wearing sunglasses an everyday occurrence.
I keep a pair of quality shades in my car, and I always make sure to take them with me in my purse when I know I’ll be outside on sunny days. But what about the other days? What about other activities? And, do we need multiple pairs of sunglasses?
Different types of sunglasses are tailored to support different activities in your life. The most important factor when picking out a pair is to consider what you will be using them for to enhance comfort no matter the activity.
If you think about why we wear sunglasses in the first place, it’s for protection and comfort. It’s easy to grab a pair of shades while driving in the car or walking outside on the weekends, but do you ever think about wearing sunglasses while doing fitness activities like running, biking, or playing tennis or golf?
Here are some interesting facts I learned during the webinar:
• 1 in 4 Americans rarely or never wear sunglasses, leaving their eyes at risk.
• 2 in 3 Americans leave their sunglasses at home on cloudy or rainy days.
• 3 in 10 Americans forget their shades at home during the winter months, even though UV rays are still present.
So, why is UV Protection is so important?
Sunglasses are basically sunscreen for the eyes. If you are outside for a substantial amount of time, your eyes are at risk for swelling, redness, irritation, and hypersensitivity to light. You are also at risk for photokeratitis, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye, eyelid, and surrounding skin.
The longterm effects of UV radiation can start very early on in life. The second we start making sunglasses part of our routine, the better off we will be!
More longterm effects include:
• premature aging of the skin: wrinkles, crow’s feet, sunspots
• yellowing of the natural lens in our eye
• all of the diseases mentioned above
Also, factor these statistics into your days:
• water reflects up to 100%
• snow reflects up to 85% (hello, ski goggles!)
• dry sand and concrete reflects up to 25%
• grass reflects up to 3%
Research has shown that the eye receives almost double the amount of UV radiation during peak running times. The level of UV entering the eye in the early morning (8 – 10 a.m.) is nearly double that of midday hours (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) at most times of the year.
After hearing all of these risks and being reminded of the dangers that come along with running san shades, I have been making sure to sport a pair of sunglasses on all of my walks and runs.
(Do they make doggie sunglasses too?)
In exchange for writing this post and sharing the importance of protecting your eyes from UV rays, I was sent a complimentary pair of O’Neill sunglasses from The Vision Council.
They’re extremely light and easy to move in! Now that I have them, I won’t be running without a pair anytime soon.
Just so you know, sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to have UV/UAB protection.
When searching for a pair of sunglasses, it’s important to look for a reputable brand from a reputable location with quality UV/UAB protective lenses.
Photo courtesy of The Vision Council
Also, don’t just assume that your extra dark lenses are the best shade for you. Surprisingly enough, many pairs of sunglasses with dark lenses out there don’t offer the protection. Make sure you ask the retailer selling the glasses, or look for a little sticker on the lens that indicates they have UV block!
Blue eyes and eyes that have less pigment are more at-risk. It is important for everyone to protect their eyes, but especially those with light-colored sparklers.
Look for photochromic lenses if you like to run on cloudy days! These types of lenses change colors, depending on how bright it is outside.
If you wear contact lenses, talk to your optometrist about what brands have the most protection. Some lenses have more UV protection than others, and it is all brand dependent.
If nothing else, I hope this post has encouraged you to remember to protect more than your body when you know you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time. Sunscreen and sunglasses are two things you shouldn’t be without!
In case you missed it, #NationalSunglassesDay just passed (June 27th), but you can still get in on the buzz about staying healthy with sunglasses by following the hashtag and posting your own #SunglassSelfie on your social media channels.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I did, however, receive a pair of activewear sunglasses in exchange for writing this post. I agreed to attend the webinar to be able to learn and share the importance of protecting yourself from UV rays. I hope you enjoyed the content, and, as always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own.