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At the start of the New Year, many of us refocus our energies on our health – we want to exercise regularly, cut down on our portion sizes, and eat a greater variety of fruits and vegetables. While it’s hard to get to the gym after work on a winter’s night when being curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee is so much more inviting, while it’s hard to eat healthy at every meal, taking long-term care of your eye sight is as simple as remembering to put your sunglasses in a set place at home so you can remember to grab them the next day as you head out.
Because the light in January appears so much weaker, you may believe that you don’t need your sunglasses during the winter months. After all, you can see just fine, and don’t squint against the rays as you would in summer.
However, it’s just as important to wear your sunglasses outdoors as it is to put on sunscreen in the winter months – and for the same reason: UV rays can damage your skin and your eye’s cornea and lens.
We all know that snow is a reflective surface that can lead to the “snow blindness” that skiers can be exposed to if they do not wear protective goggles, but the city sidewalks are just as reflective throughout the year.
Yes, sunglasses can help protect the sensitive skin around your eyes from the wrinkling effects of the sun, but, more importantly, they can protect your eyes from cataracts that can lead to blindness, and muscular degeneration, which decreases the sharpness of your vision, as well as other painful and disabling eye issues.
One growing concern is skin cancer. The skin around the eye and especially the eye lid itself is the thinnest skin area on the body, so it is particularly vulnerable to cancer.
When you are buying sunglasses to protect your eye health, make sure that you check their sticker. Sunglasses should block 99 per cent of both UVA and UVB light and preferably be approved by the American National Standards Institute. One other thing to keep in mind that is not so well known is that the best sunglasses protect you against light wavelengths of up to 400 nanometers. These are the smallest rays of UV light.
As January turns into February, February to March, remember that you can keep one very important resolution this year by dedicating a set space for your keys and glasses at home, so you never hop out for that sweat session at the gym without your pair.