Staying healthy

Staying healthy... from head to toe

Start with your eyes

While sunglasses can make a fashion statement, you should choose your shades based on the UV ratings and not frame style alone.

During the summer months, ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) levels are more than three times higher than ultraviolet radiation during the winter months. It is very important to protect your eyes.

Everyone, no matter the age, should wear sunglasses that block 99 percent of UVB rays and at least 95 percent of UVA rays; 100 percent blockage is your best choice. Sunglasses with these ratings will protect your eyes from UV radiation exposure, which can lead to cataracts, burns and cancer.

Proper sunglasses are key to protecting your eyes from sun-related damage and should be worn anytime you are outdoors, year around, especially:

  • when you are at the beach, swimming or boating
  • when you are on the slopes, skiing, sledding or snowboarding
  • when you are gardening
  • when you are driving
  • if you take medications that cause sensitivity to light.

For even more protection, purchase sunglasses that wrap around your temples. These along with a hat with a three-inch brim will provide maximum protection for your eyes.

Even if you wear sunglasses, you should never look directly at the sun, especially during an eclipse. This may cause damage to your eyes and you may even lose your vision. Remember that sunglasses are designed to protect your eyes from sun damage, but they will not protect you against the bright lights caused by welding or tanning beds; you will need special protection for those activities.

A shade of a different color. Did you know that the color of the lens will affect what you see? Consider the effects of lens colors:

Driving? Gray lenses reduce light intensity without affecting contrast or distorting colors.

Going to the beach? Brown lenses partially enhance contrast by blocking some blue light and are good for snow sports and hunting in bright light.

Hunting or hiking? Amber or yellow lenses significantly enhance contrast because they block most or all blue light, which makes them popular among hunters who benefit from the contrast when looking at targets against the sky. They are not recommended for any activity that requires color recognition, such as driving. Polarized lenses reduce glare, but they may also react with the tints in windshields, creating blindspots and diminishing the visibility of LCD readouts.

Love how they look. You should choose frames that enhance your face shape. Here are some general guidelines:

Rounded frames are great with a square face.

Rectangular frames complement a heart-shaped face.

Square frames look good on a round face.

Always put your sunglasses in a hardcover case to protect them when not in use. Make sure they fit well and that you are happy with the size and feel of the sunglasses. Whichever pair you choose, make sure they meet the UV recommendations, they fit well and feel good.

Ministry’s Optical Department, located at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point offers such brands as Oakley, RayBan, Christian Dior, Kate Spade, Morel, Valentino, Columbia, Tag, Polo, and Ralph Lauren. To make an appointment for an eye exam, call 715.342.7825, for an appointment with the Optical Department, call 715.342.7834.

For more information about your eyes and about eye health, visit

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