264. That’s how many days of sunshine on average Lubbock and the South PLains receives each year. We all know the health risks we face if we don’t wear sunscreen on sunny days, but the sun can do damage to more than just your skin.
Lorenzo Anderson, O.D. explains, “If you have red, scaly lesions, if it’s on the cornea, if you have increased tearing or if you are squinting a lot, or if you have irritation on your eyes that also can point out UV exposure keratitis. And like I said on the white parts of your eyes you’ll see those little grains. They’ll start as like a yellowing, shimmering kind of thing not really noticeable to you until we look under one of those microscopes. But over time you’ll see that build and grow and you’ll definitely feel the side effects like irritation and burning and stuff like that you didn’t have before. With the lens and retina and all of that you’ll just see decreased vision and stuff like that. We have the tools to detect it, so regular eye exams we’ll be able to educate anybody coming through the door if they need sunglass protection or if they should be aware or something like that.”
Now we’ve all heard the term “polarized” sunglasses before. This may seem like a gimmick to get you to pay more money on sunglasses, but in fact they give you better eye protection.
“Any smooth surface is going to reflect light back into your eye and this where polarization comes into play with sunglasses. So not only does polarization help with glare and visibility by cutting out light rays it can also help with protection because it minimizes the amount of light rays coming into your eyes,” says Anderson.
Sunglasses come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but don’t buy on the style, buy on what type of rays the lense actually blocks.
Dr. Anderson also adds, “So sunlight has three different rays, UVA, UVB, and UVC. Our eyes naturally have UVA and UVB and some of UVC, but it just doesn’t fit the mold like it use to. So sunglasses help protecting against those UV rays. A lot of people don’t think that darker is better, but it’s not necessarily better, it’s really the type of coating the sunglasses have that protects against the UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.”