Warm weather is here, and with it comes the beloved outdoor activities. Whenever you are outside, be sure to protect yourself from the suns’ harmful UV rays. Sun hats, sleeves and sunscreen usually take care of that. But even when people take care of their skin and protect it from the sun, they often forget to protect their eyes.
You only got two, take care of them. Did you know your eyes can actually become sunburned? That”s right, it”s called photokeratitis, and it”s actually when your eyes become sunburned. It can also happen if you look at a very bright UV light source like a plasma cutter or a welding arc, then it”s referred to as a “flash” and it”s very uncomfortable.
UV rays are very harmful and can cause blindness. Your mother may have told you when you were young not to look at the sun, well she was right. Looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes very badly. Thank goodness for the wonderful invention of sunglasses.
Somewhere around the 1300″s, Chinese judges wore smoked quarts lenses to hide their eyes and their expressions. Later, about the mid 1400″s, the Chinese got darkened corrective glass lenses from Italy, so I suppose it would be fair to say the Italians invented sunglasses as we know them in that time frame.
In 1929 Sam Foster started selling sunglasses on the beaches of Jersey, and then in about 1936 Ray Ban started using polarized lenses. WWII started the “aviator” craze when fly boys came back from war with their oh-so-cool shades. But it wasn”t until about 1960 when Foster Grants started with the designer shades, and well, you know the rest.
Some shades can be had on the cheap, just a few bucks, but some can cost many hundreds of dollars. But no matter how much they cost, they will do you no good unless they are rated for UV and UVB protection. Fortunately UVC rays are blocked or absorbed by our atmosphere, otherwise we would not be here, and prolonged exposure to this UV light is lethal.
Wearing quality UV protection rated sunglasses year round is a must. Even during the winter the suns” ™ rays can be damaging, just because it is cold out doesn”t mean the sun doesn”t shine. As a matter of fact, the winter sun can be more harmful because it glares off of the snow. This actually acts to amplify the intensity of the rays greatly.
Before there were sunglasses the Eskimos wore an eye shade made of seal skin with narrow slits to protect them from the suns glare.
Another way besides sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays is to wear a wide brimmed hat, ball cap or a golf hat while partaking of outdoors activities. If you”ve ever seen a football game, then I”m sure you may have noticed the black under their eyes. This is to prevent glare from the sun.
So far there aren”t any sunscreens for the eyes. Maybe one day, but until then its sunglasses.
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