The Eyes Have It

by Dennis Machicao

Eyes, what precious organs that reflect the wonders of this world, the good the bad and the inner soul of an individual. More often then not, we don’t consider taking care of them. We get yearly physicals for the rest of our body, but do we ever get a yearly “eye physical”?

A good pair of sunglasses, and not just wearing them as a fashion statement, can protect against the sun’s powerful UV (ultraviolet) rays and is a good start in maintaining good eye health. Pick ones with lenses that fully protect against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. We mostly consider wearing sunglasses in the summer but winter is also a season that protective eyewear should be considered.

During the winter months the sun’s powerful UV rays are just as harmful as during the summer. Especially sun glare from fallen snow whether you are shushing down the slope or sloshing through the sidewalk slop. Overexposure to the sun’s winter glare can cause photokeratitis that is similar to sunburn to sensitive eyeball tissue. With time it can heal but its better to avoid it. UV rays can also cause certain types of cataracts and has been linked to age related macular degeneration.

Winter’s climate is a very dry one and can cause another eye condition called dry eye. Normally, the eye manufacture’s tears to lubricate and clean. If the eyes cannot produce the correct amount of tears to combat the dry air and cold wind, it overcompensates by producing more tears thus causing tearing of the eyes. This overcompensation gives the impression that you are crying and can irritate the eye. This process called reflex tearing, contains excessive amounts of water but less mucus and oils than regular tears. These poor quality tears do not alleviate the dry condition and thus more tears are produced with no benefit.

To treat this condition and maintain good eye health a visit to your eye care provider is essential. Don’t only just go because you feel you might need glasses. Early detection of cataracts and other eye related conditions is good preventative practice for a life of health and wellness.

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