Pride and Protection

Dylon from "Naked Boys Singing" photographed by Alina Oswald on the Asbury Park North Beach in 2012.

Dylan from "Maked Boys Singing" on the Asbury Park North Beach in 2012. Photo by Alina Oswald.Pride month is filled with fun, there are lots of sights to take in, pool parties and outdoor events to attend. Most likely the one thing, or two things that won’t be on your mind while you are frolicking in the parade are your eyes. People don’t think about their eyes until there is something wrong with them, and then it can be to late, and that’s why you need to wear protection, yes, down there, but right now I am talking about a little further north, your eyes.

Dollar store sunglasses just aren’t going to work, this is not a place where you want to skimp and cut costs. You need at least 400 UV (ultraviolet) blockage to keep those baby blues, bedroom browns,  or whatever beautiful color your eyes are in tip top shape.

The ultraviolet rays can damage more than the skin, it can also damage the cornea, cause cataracts, and has been linked to macular degeneration, a disease of the macular which is part of the retina, and trust me, you need your macula for sharp vision.

Photokearatitis, also known  as  “corneal sunburn”, is a painful condition that occurs hours after poorly protected exposure to natural or artificial sources, such as gazing at the sun, a solar eclipse or welding unprotected. This condition is found mostly in snowboarders and skiers, and is very painful. Any time sunlight is bouncing off a highly reflective surface such as the water, snow, sand, even the pavement, it is dangerous if you do not have proper protection covering your eyes. For special circumstances consult your ophthalmologist so they can recommend the appropriate protection, in some situations like arc welding and tanning lights, sunglasses won’t work.

UV radiation can also cause a condition called pteryguim and pingueculum. When a pteryguim grows over the conjunctiva and into the cornea, it can be bothersome and annoying.  A pingueculum is a yellowish bump that like the pterygium can cause irritation, and neither look pretty.

So if  you have read this far and are not convinced, let me appeal to your vanity. Wrinkles. No. One. Wants. Wrinkles.  Sunglasses are important to protecting your fragile eye lid. The skin is thin, and is vulnerable to skin cancer, so it’s important to protect this skin at all costs. Protection will also cut down on a trip to the plastic surgeon, because crows feet  and wrinkles can sometimes form from lack of protection.

Look for complete and full protection, and for the sticker that says blocks 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays, and UV 400 protection. If you spend a lot of time in the water, opt for  polarized lenses which will reduce glare and filter out the reflecting sunlight. Polarized lenses are great if you are into water sports, and if playing high impact sports choose a polycarbonate lens, this will offer you maximum protection.

Remember, you only get two, so whatever you do, protect that dynamic duo, they are the windows to your soul!