I have terrible eyesight. So bad in fact that whenever I go to a new eye doctor, they always think it’s funny to say, “Wow, you really are blind!”
This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and The Vision Council
Obviously I’m not blind but my eyes are pretty bad compared to most people. Thankfully I can still wear contacts and actually at my last appointment my doctor told me my eyes even got a little better. I can’t even tell you how happy that made me.
I always do what I can to protect my eyes and when we were told that both Kora and Logan would need reading glasses in Kindergarten I became diligent about doing what I can keep their eyes healthy as well. That’s why I was excited to be invited to attend a webinar with optometrist Dr. Dora Adamopoulos, a member of the Better Vision Institute.
The main focus of the webinar was the importance of wearing the proper sunglasses for adults and children. As a family, we do a pretty good job of wearing sunglasses. Dave wears them no matter the weather. The minute he walks out the door he puts on his sunglasses. Sometimes I tease him because he even wears them in the rain and he probably has at least 7 pairs of sunglasses
I only have one pair but I wear them whenever it is sunny. I like them so much I try to keep them protected by putting them in a soft cloth case in my purse (totally dorky I know) to keep them free of scratches and smudges.
Logan has always been bothered by the sun. He can barely open his eyes on a sunny day and when he was really little he refused to. He closed his eyes and put a hand over them and insisted on being led around with his eyes closed. Needless to say he’s had sunglasses from a young age and wears them often.
Kora is the one we need to keep reminding to wear her sunglasses. She has a cute pair that she likes but she only wears them for a few minutes and soon has them off. She is often flipping upside down, running, jumping, and spinning so she finds it tough to do all that with sunglasses because they keep falling off. We just keep reminding her to put them back on when she is upright.
- 5% say never
- 50% say not often
- 25% often
- 20% very often
- 0% always
I was surprised at the answers especially considering that when asked how often do we wear sunglassses when outdoors 52% said always and 30% said often.
Throughout the webinar we learned that it’s important for both children and adults to wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB stickers on them protect from harmful UV rays.
In fact, short term vision problem from lack of UV protection include:
- Sunburn of the eye
- Hypersensitivity to light
Long term vision problems from lack of UV protection includes:
- Premature aging & wrinkles
- Abnormal growths on eye and eyelid which can lead to surgery
- Cataracts – 32 female came in for annual exam and had cataracts; she was a life guard growing up but didn’t wear sunglasses often growing up; has also seen it in park rangers
- Macular Degeneration – causing you to lose central vision
- Cancer of the eye, eyelid, and surrounding skin
What you can do to protect your eyes:
- Buy sunglasses from a reputable person or dealer
- Look for a sticker that says UVA & UVB
- Make sure the sunglasses are comfortable
Throughout the webinar I learned a number of things I didn’t know including:
- UVA rays go all the way into the eye while UVB rays damage skin around the eye.
- Polarized sunglasses cut down on the glare
- A darker tint doesn’t mean better it’s only a matter of preference – as long as the sunglasses have the UVA & UVB sticker any tint is fine. Grey tints distort color the least while brown tints brighten vision on cloudy days
- Some contacts offer UV protection
- The only way to tell if sun damage is causing problems is by visiting your eyecare provider
The most surprising thing I learned at the webinar was that when sunglasses get scratched they lose their UV efficacy and UV light gets through the glass.
I had no idea. I thought that when they were scratched it was just annoying. It makes sense though that scratches mean they can’t work as they should. I now know we need to replace Kora & Logan’s sunglasses and I’ll have to get cute cases for everyone to put their’s in when they are not using them.
The doctor also offered advice on the best way to clean glasses:
- Never use Windex, ammonia, or alcohol, they can degrade the lens
- Use simple soap (like Dawn) and water
- Get a lather going and then gently dry it with a soft towel
- You can also buy sprays that are great when you don’t have soap and water
I learned a lot from this webinar and there’s more information and tips on the Vision Council website including a new report that reveals gaps in UV saftey, 2013 eyewear trends, and more. After attending this webinar and writing this post we’ll definitely be donning our sunglasses this Memorial Day weekend and hope you will be too!