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summer

What You Need To Know Before Buying Sunglasses

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What You Need To Know Before Buying Sunglasses

Imagine yourself out on the water at a beach on a hot summer’s day. As you’re enjoying the view, a wave sweeps in behind you. Next thing you know, the stylish sunglasses you were wearing are lying at the bottom of the lake! It’s after times like these when my patients ask whether it’s worth investing in sunglasses, or if a cheap pair will work the same. To that, I say that there is absolutely a difference!

UV protection is #1 priority. UV blocking sunglasses are just as important as slathering on sunscreen. UV damage is linked to numerous eye diseases including cataract, macular degeneration, and skin cancer. Skin is thinnest on your eyelid, and so it is very susceptible to UV damage. Make sure your sunglasses are truly UV blocking by purchasing from a reputable retailer. In Canada, most sunglasses – even inexpensive department store pairs - block UV. It should say 100% UVA and UVB protection, or UV400 protection. They should fit well enough to provide coverage around your eyes too. No matter how dark your sunglasses are, however, never look directly at the sun – it can cause permanent vision loss.

Optical quality. Summer is beautiful with its green trees, sandy beaches, crystal blue water, and gorgeous sunsets! Why wouldn’t you want to see clearly and enjoy all the natural beauty around you? Unfortunately, lenses made of cheaper plastics are not as clear, and have quite a bit of distortion, glare, and colour disruption.

Polarization. Have you ever noticed reflections off the water, making it impossible to see beneath the surface? Have you ever been bothered by glare off other cars on a sunny day? Polarized lenses, such as those made by Maui Jim®, use special technology to cut out glare, making everything appear much more crisp. Everyone can benefit from polarization – whether you drive a car, spend time on the water, walk around outdoors, or play sports. Once you try polarization, you’ll never want to go back! It’s like the difference between watching a movie in HD on Blu-Ray, as opposed to DVD.

It’s About Safety. We all have experienced times when we’re driving with the sun directly ahead, with our visor down in order to see the road while squinting. There is no doubt that wearing a clear, polarized pair of sunglasses improves visibility, reduces distractions, and increases safety on the road.

What About Kids? Sunglasses are just as important, if not more, for children! The WHO estimates that 80% of a person’s lifetime UV exposure has already occurred by age 18. Protect those young eyes, it will pay off in the future!

The Verdict. My advice is to own at least one pair of high-quality polarized sunglasses, and to wear them year-round when outdoors or driving in daylight. If you are concerned about losing sunglasses out on the water, you can always have an inexpensive basic UV-blocking pair for those riskier situations.

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Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong

Image Credit: Richard Pouncy Jr. 

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Top 5 Tips: Are You Using Your Contacts Properly?

Top 5 Tips: Are You Using Your Contacts Properly?

As days get longer, sunlight gets warmer, and excitement for summer vacation grows, many of us like to trade in our glasses for the convenience and look of contact lenses. Review our top 5 tips on how to use and care for your contact lenses properly!

  1. Invest in quality contact lenses that are safe for your eyes. There are countless brands of lenses, each with different sizes, shapes, moisture, breathability, stiffness, and ability to protect against UV. Did you know the power in your contact lens is rarely the same as your glasses? Only your optometrist can fit you with the best lenses that are crisp, comfortable, and healthy for your eyes’ unique features. Dry eyes with lens wear is not normal, and your doctor can explain different ways to prevent this.

  2. Clean and replace them as your doctor directs. Your eye needs to breathe! An old or dirty lens can starve your eye of oxygen, causing inflammation and discomfort. Worse, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Would you re-wear used socks or underwear? Well, same goes for your contacts! Depending on the brand, your doctor may recommend that you replace them daily, bi-weekly, or monthly. Some lenses must be rubbed and stored with a specific cleaning solution. If you use a storage case, wash it daily and swap it out for a new one every 3 months to prevent a build-up of bacteria.

  3. Never over-wear or sleep in your lenses. Contacts should not be worn for more than 12-14 hours per day, and it is always a good idea to take a break from them at least two days of the week. Sleeping – even napping – in your lenses significantly increases your risk of infection, which can lead to permanent vision loss in severe cases. For days when your eyes are red, feeling irritated, or when you are sick, you should not wear your contacts as it puts you at greater risk of infection and inflammation.  

  4. Always wear sunglasses over your lenses. You wouldn’t apply sunscreen just on your arms while leaving your back exposed, would you? While some (not all) contact lenses have UV protection, contact lenses only cover a small portion of the eye. This still leaves the rest exposed to UV damage. A stylish pair of high definition polarized sunglasses, such as Maui Jim®, cuts glare and ensures your eyes are fully protected.

  5. Avoid exposing your lenses to water. Water can be full of chemicals and bacteria that can adhere to the contact lens. Ideally, swimming with prescription goggles is best for your eyes. However, if you must, wear disposable contacts with goggles, then replace the lenses with a fresh pair immediately after swimming.

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Written by: Dr. Natalia Fong & Dr. Fabian Tai

Image Credit: Artem Bali