Like most San Antonians I love our Winters, I love our Springs, I love our Falls, heck, I even love our Summers! And what do I love about our seasons?? Sunshine, sunshine, and more sunshine! Ok, so we did get about 2 inches of snowfall this past December, but that was the first accumulation in over 30 years (and wasn’t it just a little bit of fun playing outside and building a Snowman with our kids?)
But in all seriousness, living in San Antonio puts us at risk for higher UV exposure compared to other more northern parts of the US. And, starting in March the UV index will continue to rise each month reaching “High” levels in April and “Very High” levels in May, June, July and August. It’s common knowledge that the sun accelerates skin aging and can cause skin cancer. I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s just as damaging to our eyes!
Excessive UV exposure to our eyes leads to earlier and more advanced development of cataracts as well as macular degeneration. The most common type of eyelid cancer, basal cell carcinoma, is found in patients with a history of UV exposure.
Fortunately, there are simple and fashionable ways to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them! Prescription and non-prescription sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB are a great first-line treatment. Sunglass styles are typically larger than our everyday glasses, so we get the added benefit of wrinkle reduction and cancer prevention around our eyes! And it lets us more “conservative” types try a fun “modern” style of a larger fashion-forward frame!
If a second pair of glasses is not for you then we have a few other great options. Photochromic lenses, specifically Transitions lenses, are a great way to have your “everyday” prescription lenses darken when outdoors. These lenses are activated by UV exposure, and it always amazes me how dark my Transition lenses get even on the overcast days in San Antonio! (Hint: we are still being exposed to high levels of UV on cloudy days!) Transition lenses are also a great option for our children wearing prescription glasses. Our kids are exposed to a lifetime of UV and receive the most UV exposure before their 18th birthday!?
While Transition lenses do provide 100% UV protection, they are not the greatest option if sunglare while driving is a concern as they do not become dark enough behind car windshields. Car windows have UV protection built-in, so Transition lenses will not become completely darkened and you may still have difficulty driving “into” the sun on your morning and evening commutes.
A new favorite of mine is the Chemistrie Polarized sunlens clip. These sleek clips provide 100% UVA and UVB protection, and are custom made for each frame, converting your everyday lenses into amazing polarized sunglasses! As pictured above, the Chemistrie magnetic clips are functional and attractive and a great option for converting your favorite glasses into sunglasses.
We’d love to help you navigate your eyewear needs and help advise you on the best option for UV protection for you and your family. Stop in today or call to schedule an exam with Dr. Racoma. (210) 960-5494