Cool misty mornings, blazing hot afternoons, and colorful skies adorn these islands on a daily basis. Living in paradise has its perks, but we often forget the small deleterious details that come with it. We’re aware of the consequences that UV rays impose on our skin, but what about our eyes?
Excessive UV exposure increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygia, and other conditions. Since Hawaii is close to the equator, UV rays are stronger than other places further away.
It’s important to protect the eyes with sunglasses that filter all the UV radiation. Polarized sunglasses are often mistaken for having the ability to block UV rays, however this is not always the case.
Polarized sunglasses reduce glare reflected off of surfaces such as water and roadways, and are suitable for many outdoor activities such as fishing, the beach, bicycling, etc.
However, not all polarized glasses filter all the harmful UV radiation. Cloudy weather doesn’t mean UV rays aren’t present.
Wearing sunglasses that filter all the UV light are optimal and will reduce these damaging effects. We are fortunate to be able to spend significant amounts of time outside year-round, whether it is for work or leisurely activities.
• Kristen Apana is a student intern with the Office of Timothy B. Crane, MD, 4463 Pahe’e St Suite 206, Lihue, 246-0119, craneeyecare.com