**I was gifted the items referenced in my post from The Vision Council. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Summer is one of my favorite times of year! I love being able to spend time outdoors with the kids, enjoying the few short months of warmth we experience here in the Midwest. Of course, with more time outside also means more exposure to the sun. I do my best to regularly apply sunblock on all of us to protect our skin, but sometimes forget I should be doing more to protect our eyes from the harmful UV rays as well!
That's why I was thrilled when asked to participate in a program with The Vision Council to learn more, and share about vision health when it comes to sun-safety. I have always known it was important to wear sunglasses, but tend to forget just how important!
Having recently surveyed 10,000 people across the country, The Vision Council found that less than half of adults wear sunglasses regularly (just 46%!) because they don't understand or believe their eyes are at risk for UV damage. I will admit I've been this way in the past...not taking the risk seriously! But it is serious...UV radiation doesn't discriminate! We can all be victims of UV exposure, no matter our age or location.
In fact, children are at risk too...and even more susceptible! Unlike the mature ocular lens of an adult eye, a child's lens cannot filter out UV rays as easily, allowing them to reach the retina! Scary thought for sure!
And, unfortunately when we as adults aren't educated on the issue, we as parents are then not providing our children with the knowledge and eyewear needed to prevent long-term vision impairment either! I will admit that I've been that parent in the past. I would push the sunblock, but not give much thought to sunglasses. Not anymore!
The sun's unfiltered ultraviolet rays not only can burn and damage skin cells, but they can also harm unprotected eyes. A full day outside without protection can cause immediate temporary issues such as swollen or red eyes and years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid and accelerate cataracts!
Given the harm that the sun's rays can do to our eyes, it is essential that adults and children wear proper eye protection while outside...regardless of the season or time of day. Sunglasses are the most effective tool at preventing immediate and long-term damage to the eye. It is important to find a good pair of glasses as adults and for children that effectively block UVA and UVB light (usually indicated by a sticker or label on the glasses).
And, while shopping for the right pair of sunglasses for you and your family...one of the biggest things I learned from The Vision Council, is that darker isn't necessarily better! The tint and color of the lenses has no bearing on the level of UV protection. This was eye-opening for me, as I thought just the opposite! This is one of the biggest myths that people believe, but truthfully, even clear glasses with UV treatments provide excellent coverage from the sun. So this is definitely something to be mindful of when buying your next pair!
Thankfully, we as consumers have more options when it comes to sunglasses than ever before. The eyewear industry is constantly evolving and expanding to provide more durable, flexible products for children and adults.
We were sent a couple of pairs of sunglasses that shows this perfectly (along with other skin care and sun care products). First the BabyBanz, which are not only adorable, but perfect for the infant in your life! They provide the eye protection he/she needs with a band that ensures it will stay on so these little eyes stay covered!
I was also sent a pair of stylish Nicole Miller sunglasses that I just love! They are cute and trendy, not too big, and best of all offer the protection my eyes need as well! I love knowing that I'm helping sustain healthy vision by wearing protective eyewear and encouraging my kids to do the same!
Both pairs of sunglasses came with a protective case/pouch which is perfect for storing them when not in use. This protects the lenses so we can be sure that they are not getting scratched and protecting our eyes as best they can each time we wear them.
With today being National Sunglasses Day, let's remember and spread the word just how important wearing UV protective eyewear really is! We can prevent eye damage and sustain healthy vision for the future by being informed and proactive! Please remember how important it is to have good UV-protective eye habits and to wear sunglasses!
You can share your #SunglassesSelfie on Facebook (http://facebook.com/TheVisionCouncil) or Twitter (@opticalindustry) and don't forget to use the #NationalSunglassesDay hashtag in your tweets today (June 27th).