Summer is so close we can taste it! The unofficial start of the summer season kicks off Memorial Day weekend as we head to the beach, fire up the grill and soak up some rays. And while those are great ways to spend the weekend, just don’t forget the shades and the sunscreen. As part of Ultraviolet Awareness Month, The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America are joining with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention to designate Friday, May 27 as Don’t Fry Day. Sunscreen, UV-blocking sunglasses and hats should all be part of your beach bag or outdoor party gear. Both The Vision Council and Prevent Blindness America have ongoing commitments to help consumers stay safe in the sun. The Vision Council will soon release a new report “Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe” about the importance of protecting eyes and the skin that surrounds the eyes. Prevent Blindness America has The UV Learning Center, a website filled with information on the dangers of UV, how to purchase the best sunglasses for adults and children, and other related topics. According to Prevent Blindness America, wearing sunglasses or other eyewear that offer UV protection is the best way to shield the eyes from the sun. It also offers these tips for consumers when choosing a pair of shades:
- Buy from a reputable retailer: Their products will meet frame and lens quality criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
- Look for UV protection: Sunglasses should filter UVA and UVB light.
- Try the sunglasses on: Fit and feel make a difference because sunglasses that are uncomfortable are less likely to be worn.
- Use multiple pairs: Different lenses and frames may be suited to various types of activities.
- Understand lens color: The darkness of a lens has nothing to do with UV protection, although various lens colors can offer other benefits. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses are best when used for water sports; gray, brown and amber are great for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
- Focus on design: For extra protection, wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles.
To download a copy of “The Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe” and a comprehensive list of sun-safe tips, visit www.thevisioncouncil.org/sunglasses. To download a copy of Prevent Blindness America’s report “UV and Our Nation’s Vision,” visit http://www.preventblindness.org/sunandvision/.