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This summer people are out hiking, biking, and doing what makes Colorado great.  Our eye doctors encourage our patients to take care of their eyes by protecting themselves from ultraviolet (UV) light.  Just like the benefits from sunscreen protection, UV eye protection is important for long term health.  Diseases such as macular degeneration and cataract formation are both linked to UV exposure over the course of one’s lifetime.  But while UV protection is important, how exactly does one go about protecting their eyes from the harsh rays of the sun?  Dr. Brian Abert, an optometrist at Vista Eye Care in Thornton, Colorado explains:

Keep sunlight out of your eyes to prevent cataracts & macular degeneration.“Colorado is at altitude, meaning that we have 5280’ less atmosphere to filter out the damaging rays of the sun than a town on the coast.  There are many ways to protect the eyes while you and your family are out enjoying our weather and scenery.  My favorite ways are sunglasses, UV blocking contact lenses, and ophthalmic materials that inherently block UV light.

Sunglasses are the most popular means of UV protection, and we have a wide variety to chose from, some of the best selection in the Brighton, Westminster, and Thornton neighborhoods.  Everything from Carerras to Oakleys to BCBG to Ellen Tracy –we have the style you’re looking for!  Sunglass lenses can be made in a variety of tints, gradients, and even polarized lenses.  Polarized lenses offer fantastic glare reduction, color enhancement, and removal of surface reflection from glass and water.  Once you’ve tried polarized sunglasses, you’ll appreciate what you’ve been missing!

Contact lenses have enjoyed a great resurgence thanks to their ease of use, great optics, and fantastic comfort.  Several contact lens brands now offer UV protection, allowing for clear vision without glasses.  CooperVision’s Avaira lens is a comfortable 2-week lens that is one of our favorites.  Acuvue Oasys, another 2-week lens, is also a popular brand.  Both the Avaira and Oasys contact lenses offer UV protection, and both are available in spherical and toric (contact lenses to correct astigmatism) varieties.

Glasses don’t need to be tinted to visible light to offer UV protection.  An ultraviolet-blocking coating is an inexpensive and easy way to protect your eyes with your regular, everyday glasses.  Transitions is a brand of coating that allows glasses to change tint when going from indoors to outdoors.  It is great for children and adults alike and allows for great comfort as well as great protection.  Some lens materials, such as polycarbonate, are inherently resistant to UV light and require no additional coatings to offer protection.”

There are lots of ways to protect your eyes.  If you have any questions about ocular disease prevention, be sure to contact us, or ask you eye doctor at your next annual check-up.  Have a great summer out there!