There’s something to be said for a hobby as fulfilling as surfing. Indeed, many lifelong surfers are drawn to the waves the way fish are to water. And these same surfers will also attest to the importance of eye protection. That’s because, day in and day out, riding waves in the oppressive sunshine can not just tan the skin, it can also cause irreversible eye damage.
Those who have surfed for years without proper eye protection often complain of growths on the surface of their eyes, cataracts or even cornea damage. In almost every instance the damage is caused by constant exposure to the sun’s harsh UV rays. And the best defense against UV damage is a good sunglass-based offense.
Here are some tips for avid surfers with an interest in prolonging their overall eye health.
Look for the label
The Occupational Health and Safety & health Administration is a regulatory body that maintains global standards for certain products, including sunglasses. Those surfers in the market for a new pair should not settle for anything less than sunglasses with an OSHA label front and center confirming 99-100 UV protection.
Wrap-around sunglasses are ideal for surfers because they tend to block more sunlight from the sides and top of the frames. They are also more secure than standard horn-rimmed sunglasses. There are also specialty shops and online retailers that offer “surf sunglasses,” which are specifically geared for wave riders. Not only do they provide proper UV protection, but many of them come with removable leashes and straps. Those who are on a budget, however, should be warned: these types of sunglasses often start at $100 and go up significantly from there.
Don’t Focus on Price
As mentioned above, there are specialty sunglasses that can cost a pretty penny. And while it is difficult to put a price on good eye health, there are cheap sunglasses that can provide optimum protection as well. The only thing the surfer needs to look for is the level of UV protection. Even if the sunglasses in question are made of cheap plastic, they will do the job as long as they protect against the sun’s rays.
Lens Color is Irrelevant
People tend to think that sunglasses with darker lenses provide better protection against UV rays. This isn’t the case. The part of the lens that actually provides the protection is the outer coating, not the coloring. In fact, those sunglasses with no UV coating and only dark color can be even more harmful than not wearing sunglasses at all, as they fool the eyes into opening up more. Plus, spending less money on sunglasses makes the replacement process that much less painful when the inevitable loss occurs.
By following these simple tips, surfers should be able to prolong their eyesight so they can surf happily well into their golden years. The best thing to do is start the sunglass routine early and continuing through every moment spent out on the waves. In fact, those surfers with children should invest in sunglasses for their children, as no age is too young to begin focusing on good eye health.
John Sideman is a freelance writer residing Texas. The majority of his writing is geared toward optical and sports eyewear products offered by www.adseyewear.com.