Protecting Our Eyes on the Road

Seriously oversized shades in Thailand.

Protecting Our Eyes on the Road

“If you don’t wear sunglasses you are going to get crow’s feet.”

Every time I pick up my sunglasses or pack for a trip, I can still hear my Mom’s words, and I can’t help but laugh. Her threat of wrinkles was enough to get me to wear sunglasses constantly, but protecting our eyes is about so much more than just the prevention of wrinkles.

Seriously oversized shades in Thailand.

Recently, I attended a webinar hosted by The Vision Council to learn about the importance of protecting our eyes while we are on the road. To my surprise, forty percent of adults do not wear sunglasses, and considering the consequences, that number is way too high.

The sun’s rays can cause both short term and long term damage. Short term damage may include sunburn of the eye, swelling, irritation, and hyper sensitivity to light. While all of these are inconvenient, the real damage comes later on. Long term damage includes premature aging, abnormal growth, sunspots, wrinkles, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancers on or around the eye. It’s serious business, which is why we all need to place more importance on protecting our eyes.

Hanging out in Santiago, Chile.

Unfortunately, UV damage is cumulative, which is why getting an early start is important. If you are someone who travels with kids, you need to make sure that your little ones are also wearing sunglasses. It may not always be easy to ensure they are wearing them, but the fact that we acquire nearly eighty percent of our lifetime exposure to UV rays before we turn eighteen, it’s important to at least encourage eye protection.

Often, location also plays a major role in the UV rays we are exposed to. As I was informed during the webinar, the top three locations in the United States that have the highest UV levels year-round are San Juan, Honolulu, and Miami. While those locations may not be surprising, due to their almost year-round days of sunshine, it’s important to note that altitude can also play a role in exposure. If you are planning on skiing or hiking, you should be aware that when the atmosphere is thin, you are more at risk for UV rays. Some international destinations with high UV levels include Australia, Italy, the Philippines, Chile, and Argentina.

Protecting my eyes while biking.

The damage that the sun can cause our eyes is just as bad as the damage it can cause our skin, which is why we need to be as conscious about wearing sunglasses as we are about wearing sun block. While damage may not be reversible, it’s as simple as putting on a pair of shades, no matter where in the world you are going, whether it’s winter or summer, and ensuring that from this day forward no more damage can be done.

With so many cute styles out there, you should be able to find protection that looks good while it’s keeping you safe from the sun’s damaging rays. Just be sure to buy your sunglasses from a reputable store, and if you ever have any doubts about the protection your lenses offer, you should see your eye doctor and have them checked.

Even during a winter hike, sunglasses are necessary.

You only get one pair of eyes to see this beautiful world with, so make sure they are protected each time you step outside your door. One day, you’ll be grateful you did.

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Comments (12)

  1. Chasing the Donkey

    What a perfect excuse to head to the shops and buy me some new glasses 😉

    1. The World Wanderer

      That’s exactly what I was thinking! 😉

  2. Chasing the Donkey

    PS: I’ll be printing this and leaving it laying about for the hubby to see (so not to get in rouble re: shopping)

  3. Eileen

    Excellent advice! ! I wear mine everytime I leave the house.

  4. Sam

    I recall reading somewhere that wearing sunglasses all the time can be just as much as harmful as not wearing any.. especially when people wear ones that they think are UV protected, when they’re pretty much tinted plastic.

  5. @mrsoaroundworld

    it is funny, sometimes I feel I really need them, sometimes I dont! I wear sunglasses not as a fashion statement..

  6. the lazy travelers

    you know, i never realized my co-dependence on sunglasses until i snapped my beloved ray bans in half. then all i could think about was MY EYES, MYYY EEYYYYYEEESSSSS. the hubs was less sympathetic than you’d think.

  7. Lance | Trips By Lance

    My father saw the importance of wearing sunglasses so much growing up that I was spoiled in junior high with Oakleys and Ray-Bans. Not sure a young teen should start out with designer shades, but he believed those glasses provided the best protection and he was very serious about protecting our eyes. I don’t always wear designer shades today, but when my contacts are in the shades are on.

  8. lola dimarco

    yes be safe and fashionable!!

  9. Mary Anne

    The best sleep aid ever. Love them on long road trips.

  10. Traveling Ted

    It is amazing that 40% of adults do not wear sunglasses. My eye doctor showed me some gruesome pictures once of people that did not wear sunglasses, and it scared me into being a regular member of the 60% club.

  11. Leah

    I’m one of those idiots who never keeps my sunglasses in a sturdy case, so I inevitably break or lose them while traveling, requiring a purchase of cheap ones that likely do more damage than good! Something I’m working on though…good advice!

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