Wearing Sunglasses in Seattle: UV tips for travelers

A reminder from the Vision Council: This Labor Day weekend Don't forget your shades.

I just got done sitting in on a Webinar sponsored by the Vision Council with great UV tips for travelers.

My formative sunglass wearing years were spent in Seattle Washington. The joke was always "I missed summer in Seattle this year - it happened on a Wednesday".  You would think that sunglasses were really not that important to us Seattle-ites. But I always loved my sunglasses. To me carrying around a pair of sunglasses in Seattle was always a great reminder that I am a very optimistic person.  

In a 2013 report, the Vision Council found that over 50% of adults do not protect their eyes. CLICK HERE to download the full report.  This corresponds closely to the 52% of parents who don't think about UV protection for their kids either.  

Here are some tips provided this morning from the Vision Council on ways to get your kids to wear their sunglasses:

  1. Parents lead by example.
  2. Make sure your kids have FUN sunglasses.  They will be more likely to wear them.
  3. Make sure they fit really well - if they are uncomfortable the kid won't wear them.
  4. Let your kid shop for their own sunglasses - they will probably wear them more if they have picked them out themselves.
  5. Get them "SuperPower" glasses. Make sure the non prescription sunglasses you buy have polycarbonate lenses (safety glasses). You don't want the lens shattering during activity.

According to the Vision Council by the time an individual turns 18 they will have received 80% of their lifetime exposure.  As a parent (and a person over 18) this was a startling number.

Here are some helpful tips too:
  1. Remind your adult friends and family about the importance of UV eye protection.
  2. Scratches on the lenses detract from effectiveness of the UV protection.
  3. If you are in charge of your kids sunglasses keep them in a case in your bag and then hand them out when needed.
  4. Not all sunglasses are created equal.  Even if a pair of sunglasses has a UV protective sticker on them that doesn't mean that they are that great.  Your eye care professional can test your sunglass lenses to make sure they have the right level of UV protection for you.
  5. Check out the weatherchannel.com for the UV listing for your vacation getaway.  It may surprise you to know that Cheyenne Wyoming has a very high UV listing (who knew?). Check it out before you travel.

Remember that water can reflect the sunlight. So if you are heading to the beach or on the boat this weekend it is super important to pack your sunglasses.  In the winter when water freezes and turns into snow it can reflect those UV rays too. SO don't pack your sunglasses away after your summer vacation. Wear your sunglasses year round.

This is a subject that hits very close to home for me.  Even though I have been good about wearing sunglasses most of my life I still developed a mole on my eyeball when I was in my 30's.  I had to have the mole removed and biopsied.  Fortunately, it was not cancerous.  I have had 4 children (one by C-section), I have had a root canal, and I have had a mole removed from my eyeball.  I can tell you I would rather have a root canal. Protect your eyes - and brush your teeth while you're at it too - root canals are not really a fun alternative to eye surgery.

This past July we commemorated the one year anniversary of the passing of my mother-in-law.  In 2010 she went to her eye doctor because her vision was a little blurry.  It was discovered that she had developed ocular melanoma.  Cancer in her eye.  She had her eyeball removed and they thought they got most of the cancer but over the next year it spread throughout her body and eventually in July of 2012 she passed away. 

Cancer is a weird disease.  There is alot that doctors know about cancer but there is even more that they don't.  Was her ocular melanoma caused by years of working outside on a farm in Oregon without eye protection?  We just can't say.  As an adult she did everything "right".  She ate a good diet and exercised regularly.  She never smoked.  As an adult she wore the right sunglasses.  We just don't know why she was the one to get melanoma in her eye.

There are so many things that we don't know about.  Wearing our UV protective sunglasses is something that we know can help.  If your kids won't wear their sunglasses because it's good for them then just remind them that it is super cool.  And like Snoopy, lead by example.

This post was sponsored by the Vision Council who provided compensation for attending the Webinar on UV Tips for Travelers.  My opinions, experiences, and sunglasses are my own.

A couple more examples of cool ~

Also check out famous sunglasses in movies - The Blues Brothers comes to mind - there are tons of pictures there if your kids aren't already convinced.