With good weather finally a reality on the West Coast; after what feels like the dreariest spring in recent memory, it’s time to break out the shades, get outside, and take advantage of the sunshine while it lasts. But, does laser eye surgery such as LASIK or PRK mean you have to take special precautions with your eyes in bright weather?
You will want to wear sunglasses during the initial post-operative phase of the procedure – to protect them from bright light while recovering from the surgery. But when it comes to day-to-day living, the same sensible advice that an eye doctor would give to any patient also applies to those who choose Lasik or PRK surgery.
First of all, make sure you get sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection. These are the harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays that also damage your skin, so it’s not hard to imagine the negative effect they have on unprotected eyes. Long term exposure can have serious impacts, including risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and photokeratitis (also known as ‘snow blindness’).UVA protection is particularly important, as UVA rays can penetrate the cornea and reach the lens and retina.
While higher cost can indicate higher quality, designer glasses won’t necessarily offer protection against these rays. Sunglasses in a variety of price ranges offer UVA/UVB protection. Look for a label or sticker to confirm the sunglasses you’re considering have this feature. Importantly, it’s not the darkness of the lens that determines protection from UV rays, so don’t assume that lightly tinted lens won’t offer the same level of protection.
Another less well-known kind of solar radiation that can impact your ocular health is HEV, or high energy visible light. Most of these rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, but HEV can penetrate deep inside the eye and do damage to the retina with prolonged exposure. Sunglasses that protect from HEV are often called ‘blue blockers’, as they block out the blue light rays typical of HEV radiation. With these types of glasses the colour of the lenses is important. Look for bronze, copper, or reddish-brown lenses.
If you spend a lot of time on the water, or participate in winter sports where altitude and snow can intensify exposure to the sun’s rays, a good pair of sunglasses is essential. Consider something with a wrap-around frame, to minimize the amount of unfiltered light reaching your eyes and to protect the delicate skin that surrounds them.
Of course one of the benefits of BoydVision’s custom Lasik or PRK procedures is the fact that you won’t have to rely on expensive prescription sunglasses or bulky shades that go over your regular eyewear to protect your eyes when you enjoy the sunshine. With laser eye surgery your options for cool shades are only limited by your imagination!