UV Tips for Travelers – Protect Your Eyes
I love to travel! I’ve traveled to different places around the world via a car, a boat, an airplane, and a train and made some amazing memories that I’ll have for the rest for my life. Whenever I’m traveling, I always make an extra effort to keep myself safe – such as keeping my luggage with me at all times, keeping my purse or backpack close to me, and being aware of my surroundings. One thing I have never really thought of was keeping my eyes safe. Yes – my eyes! It wasn’t until I participated in a webinar recently with The Vision Council that I realized the importance of keeping my eyes and the eyes of my family safe from UV damage.
In a recent study, the following were observed:
– 40% of adults were observed without sunglasses while outside.
– 48% of adults were observed without sunglasses while driving.
– 52% of parents don’t make their children wear sunglasses outside.
I had no idea the number was so high! As of late, I have found that I NEED my sunglasses when I’m outside or driving because my eyes would start to hurt if I didn’t. I didn’t really even think about making sure the kids had their sunglasses on. That’s changed since learning about UV damage.
So, why are sunglasses important? Sunglasses are important because they protect our eyes from UV damage. With UV damage comes Short-Term and Long-Term problems.
Short-Term Problems Include:
– Photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye)
– Hyper sensitivity to light
Long-Term Problems Include:
– Premature aging of the skin; wrinkles and sunspots
– Pterygium (abnormal growth on the eye and eyelid)
– Macular degeneration
– Cancer of the eye, eyelid and surrounding skin
Anderson Cooper had an experience with UV damage. Here is what he said, “I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like my eyes are on fire and I think, ‘Oh, maybe I have sand in my eyes or something.’ I douse my eyes with water. It turns out I have sunburned my eyeballs and I go blind. I went blind for 36 hours.”
How do I teach my child about UV protection? First, find comfortable and playful sunglasses for your child. Second, lead by example. If your child sees that you are wearing sunglasses, he/she will more easily be willing to wear sunglasses as well. Third, include children in the shopping experience. Fourth, spread awareness about UV radiation and why sunglasses are important.
We can avoid UV damage by simply wearing UV-protective eyewear and being aware of the effects of UV radiation. You aren’t very likely to find UV-protective eyewear from street vendors, but you will find a good selection from a professional eye care provider. Look for UV-protective eyewear that has UVA and UVB protection. Eyewear can be found in non-prescription sunglasses, prescription sunglasses, clip-ons or fit-overs, UV-coated contact lenses, and UV-protected goggles.
What will you pack for your next trip? What did you learn from this article?