Why protect your eyes outdoors?
Many of us say we feel our energy increases when we take part in outdoor activities. Being outdoors is undoubtedly good for us, but it also exposes our eyes to a number of potentially harmful threats. From glare and UV rays to dust and blue light, discover why we need to protect our eyes outdoors.
You protect your skin from the sun, but what about your eyes?
Most of us know how to equip ourselves for different weather conditions. If it’s raining, we reach for our boots and umbrella; if it’s hot and sunny, we put on swimwear and sun cream. Protecting ourselves is a natural instinct – and yet the vast majority of us neglect to protect our eyes, one of the most delicate and valuable parts of our body. Given that 80% of the information we receive comes from our eyes, it’s worth taking care of them.
The composition of light
The natural light that reaches us from the sun is composed of:
• the visible spectrum, which allows us to see shapes, forms and colours
• ultraviolet (UV) and infrared rays, which are invisible
Protecting yourself against bright light, glare and blue light
For most of us, the primary reason for wearing sunglasses is to reduce the intensity of sunlight and be more comfortable in bright conditions. Bright light dazzles us and glare can make it difficult to see. If you’ve ever been on a boat or a snowy mountainside on a sunny day, you’ll know that a decent pair of sunglasses is essential for reducing glare. They help us to see more clearly and prevent our eyes from getting tired.
As well as causing these short-term irritations, visible light can harm our eyes over the long term. Part of blue light contributes to the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.
Sunglasses can also protect us against HEV.
Protecting yourself against the “invisible rays”
In addition to shielding our eyes from visible light, sunglasses offer protection against the light rays we cannot see.
Infrared rays are not a significant threat, as they are not harmful to our eyes in small quantities. Furthermore, we feel them as heat and therefore tend to know when to protect ourselves.
Ultraviolet rays, however, are particularly dangerous because we are simply unaware of their presence. We have no way of feeling or seeing them. There are three types of UV rays:
• UVA is known as the “aging ray” and can lead to conditions such as cataracts
• UVB can cause painful burns of the cornea at the front of our eyes
• UVC would be lethal to humans but is completely blocked by the ozone layer
Of the UV radiation that reaches the earth, 95% is UVA and 5% UVB. Our eyes are the only internal tissues of our bodies directly exposed to these UV rays – and protecting them against this potential threat is another important role of sunglasses.
Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day
Despite what many of us think, the sun’s rays can be harmful even when it’s not a sunny day. Around 90% of UV rays from the sun pass unhindered through clouds and therefore pose a threat to our eyes even when it’s dull and overcast
Furthermore, direct sunlight is not the only source of UV radiation, as UV may be reflected off surfaces in our immediate environment, including roads, walls and pavements.
Sunglasses are not just for sunny days; they help protect our eyes all year round, whatever the season.
Protecting your eyes from external nuisances and impact
Others irritations to your eyes can come from your natural environment, especially outdoors. Who has never had “something in their eye”, be it dust, an insect or pollen? What’s more, your eyes are susceptible to impact from airborne objects, especially if you regularly play ball games such as tennis or beach volleyball.
With the right sunglasses, you can protect your eyes against these external elements, as well as shielding them from glare, brightness, HEV and UV rays. Whether you’re gardening, playing sports, travelling to the mountains or relaxing on the beach, you will find a pair of sunglasses that is adapted to both your lifestyle and your activities.