Sun and Shade

The short dwarf squinted, pain shooting through her eyes as she tried to make out the distant spot on the horizon. There was something darker there…maybe and antelope or a person approaching? After a futile few moments, she whispered three words, clasping the fossil that hung from a leather strap she wore. She felt the power of the great bird from which the fossil originated coursing through her and spreading into the air with those three calm words. The power sprouted out from her, shading the sun to her eyes.

Blinking, she briefly closed her sun-dried eyes to allow moisture to seep back into the damaged organs. Slitting them open again, she once again studied the horizon. There is was! A rider was approaching, but with the sun’s glare gone, she could see that it was not a friendly one. An orc scout sat looking at her, his own eyes narrowed against the noon glare. The two whirled as one, he to his camp and she to the village to warn the townsfolk that orcs were coming.

field staring at sun

Today, June 27, is National Sunglasses Day! Whether you are on a beach trying to spot your kid swimming in the water, at home looking to see who pulled in the driveway, or spotting an orc invader across a desert, sun glare can make it difficult to see what you need to, or cause your eyes to be strained and dried out. UV rays from the sun are responsible for sunburn on skin and eyes.

UVA rays, which account for the majority of UV exposure, pierce the outer and middle layer of the skin and can damage the retina of the eye. UVB rays damage the skin’s outer layer and are the culprit for sunburns –

Another type of UV ray, called UVB rays, can cause other types of damage to the eye, such as accelerating macular degeneration and cataract development.

UVB rays have also been shown to accelerate cataract development and age-related macular degeneration, and to cause squamous cell carcinoma of the eye –

Safe From the Sun

So, how do we prevent that sort of ocular damage described above? As you may have guessed, we wear sunglasses. gives us some tips for finding the right UV protection. The most important thing to do is look for a sticker telling you that the sunglasses you are looking at will protect you from UVA and UVB rays (

What if you already have glasses? While I was never bothered much by sun, I know that my eyes are being damaged by it, and so I made sure to get tinted lenses to help with glare. My sister and mother both have such lenses, and have found that they help prevent glare. gives some brief descriptions of options available for people to protect their eyes from the sun without having to wear sunglasses over existing prescription glasses.

Summer Sun

Why is this day celebrated in the summer? While people people often spend time at the beach or elsewhere outside this time of year, it is important to remember that the sun is a powerful force all year long.

UVA and UVB rays can reflect off surfaces such as water, sand, snow and even buildings. Reflected UV increases exposure levels and can double UV risk to the eyes in certain conditions, such as with snow. –

While the beach has the danger of reflection off water and sand, plus the tendency to visit beaches on sunnier days, there are risks all year round from other surfaces. If you live in an area that gets snowfall regularly in the winter, you have likely had the experience of looking outside at fresh snow, and having it hurt your eyes. Some of us even get headaches from spending too much time looking at snow on a sunny winter day.

With all that in mind, celebrate this day by finding that pair of sunglasses you lost in a drawer, and reminding yourself to wear them from now on.

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