By Dan Kidder
Anyone who has stared at a snow covered field on a sunny day is familiar with snow blindness. The technical term for this is photokerititas, a sunburn of the cornea. It is common among skiers and fishermen and welders get a version called arc eye.
According to leading experts, the cause has less to do with bright light and more to do with the reflection of what we can’t see; invisible ultraviolet rays. Sunlight is comprised of rays of ultraviolet light, but the majority is blocked by our ionosphere, with the exception of rays in the A and B bands of the UV spectrum. This non-visible energy is what can cause temporary blindness and if exposed for prolonged periods, the blindness can become permanent.
Far from being just a fashion statement or something to keep you from squinting and developing those unsightly crows feet, sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays are essential gear for the outdoors.
CNN Anchor, Anderson Cooper suffered photokerititis in December of last year after spending time in the sun on a charter fishing boat without sunglasses. He lost vision for 36 hours, but because of the restorative nature of the cornea, his eyesight returned to normal.
Another purpose for a pair of shades is to protect against a condition that will not regenerate and will cause permanent loss of sight; severe eye trauma from an impact with a foreign object. Most sunglasses, even those not rated for impact protection, will mitigate damage done by foreign objects. Ejected brass, loose stones or an errantly cast fishhook are all objects that can cause permanent vision loss for an outdoorsman or woman.
Not only can quality sunglasses protect your eyes, but they can also enhance your outdoor experience. By reducing glare, shading from bright light and muting color, quality sunglasses can enhance the clarity of vision, which in turn can aid in spotting game or just prolonging the enjoyment of time spent outdoors.
Further enhancements come in the form of polarization and colorization. Polarization blocks the reflection of horizontal light, reducing the amount of glare we receive from a surface. This is great for use on the water or snow. Colorization uses filtered lenses to reflect certain wavelengths of light, providing more vivid colors.
Two great options available at Sportsman’s Warehouse are M Shades from Mountain Eyewear and Native Eyewear. Since outdoors people are a little harder on their eyewear than the average non-sportsman, having durable sunglasses that will hold up to an active lifestyle is a must.
M Shades offer a wide variety of stylish colors and designs for the entire family, including children. Both men and women’s styles and a great selection of sizes are available. All of the M Shade line offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. The products in their Marine line are polarized. Impact and scratch resistant lenses and durable frames ensure they will hold up to the abuse that sportsmen and women subject them to.
Native Eyewear provides high performance, impact protection in good-looking styles. With a wide variety of men’s, women’s and unisex styles, Native’s products are feature filled with things like cam action hinges, vented frames to prevent fogging, UV protection, scratch resistant coatings and comfort pads on the arms and nose. Their most innovative feature is replaceable and swappable lenses. Almost all Native models come with at least one additional set of lenses to allow them to be swapped for a particular outdoor activity. Pop in some light colored lenses for a hike in a forest canopy and switch them with darker polarized lenses for time on your favorite fishing hole. This innovation allows you to keep the same stylish frames while providing multiple lens options. All Native Eyewear comes in a padded case with a neck strap, microfiber polishing bag and with a lifetime warranty.
Whatever activity you do in the outdoors, make sure you protect your vision with quality sunglasses that will keep you enjoying all the outdoors has to offer for many years. Make one of these great shades a must have item on every outdoor trip you take and also check out the wide selection of sunglass straps and keepers that Sportsman’s Warehouse offers at the Gift Bar.