Summer Sun Protection for Macular Degeneration

Summer Sun Protection for Macular Degeneration

With fall fun on the horizon there are still summer borders to navigate which means more high heat index days to come. Before you think about all the going back to school shenanigans, you may want to do an overall check when it comes to summer sun and macular degeneration. 

Today’s sun is way more dangerous than it was just ten years ago. Most claim (including over 100 worldwide scientists) that this is the result of human degeneration of the environment (some ignorant few still deny obvious ramifications). Either way, the sun is hot and your eyes are front and center when it comes to being exposed to dangerous ultraviolet light. This light has been proven to permeate the retina and immediately begin a process of damage that could lead to the development of macular degeneration. 

Learn how to protect your eyes with summer sun protection for macular degeneration that could save the future of your vision or slow the disease already in progress. 

Yellow Lenses

Sometimes all it takes is a simple switch to do yourself world of good. To prevent macular degeneration or slow it down it has been recommended to wear sunglasses as much as you can. This even means wearing them indoors as ultraviolet light not only comes from the summer sun but also can make it to your retina through electric bulb or computer light as well. 

Dr. Mark Ruchman, Chief Medical Officer, Versant Health reported to Yahoo Finance to,

“Choose sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection, or UV 400 protection. This means they protect you from both UVA and UVB radiation. And if you wear prescription eyeglasses, be sure they have a 100% UV protective coating…”

In addition to wearing UV protective sunglasses, you may want to try including yellow lenses. This color can benefit your vision in several ways and when it comes to macular degeneration may be one easy fix you can try. 

An editorial published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch (and repeated by many other news outlets) presents how yellow lenses may help. 

“I have an elderly friend who’s becoming blind from macular degeneration. After hearing of a particularly frustrating event she experienced due to vision loss, I remembered the great clarity that the yellow-lens (to reduce glare) glasses gave me, not just at night, but daytime also.” 

Dr. Keith Roach ofNY Presbyterian Hospital responded,

“…a 2002 study [] confirmed that yellow or orange lenses improved contrast sensitivity in people with early age-related macular degeneration, whereas red and gray lenses worsened it…”

Staying with the recommended UV protection, try some yellow lenses to give your vision the boost it just may need. 

Another report on yellow (which is the best choice) and other tinted lenses was cited by Safety Glasses USA which stated,

“Many people with macular degeneration have reduced color vision and reduced contrast vision. The use of yellow, amber and brown lenses can improve contrast vision and make it easier to see, especially in bright light, natural light or light that comes from bulbs.” 

Get Your Hat On

Ok, maybe you don’t look so great in a hat or it messes with your hair but when it’s between wearing a hat or developing macular degeneration, you’ll probably want to go for the hat.

In the renowned Beaver Dam Eye Study, subject vision data was recorded for over ten years. The study included participants aged 43 to 86 years between 1988 to 1990 (residents of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin). 3684 persons responded to a 5-year follow-up and 2764 responded to a 10-year follow-up. A variety of findings were found when it comes to how adult vision progresses or, moreover, regresses. Much of the data from this study is still being referred to today. One such referral is how wearing a protective clothing and eyewear could help keep AMD in the rear view mirror. 

The study concluded that, 

“A protective effect of hat and sunglasses use, by participants, while in their teens and 30s against the 10-year incidence of soft indistinct drusen and retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation was also found,” 

“Soft indistinct drusen and retinal pigment epithelial depigmentation” are two markers for AMD development.

Melanin Lenses

Melanin is made naturally by your body to protect your skin, hair, and eyes from damaging blue and ultraviolet (UV) light. The problem is that humans tend to slowly lose melatonin protection as they age. 

20/20 reported that, 

“Babies are usually born with light blue or gray eyes, yet as they grow, their eyes often get darker. This is because eye color is determined by your genes and the melanin level on your body. As you grow up, the melanin level increases around your pupil, making the eye darker. However, 10-15% of Caucasian eyes change to a lighter color as they age, as pigment in the iris changes or degrades.”

Some sunglass companies offer a melanin coating which is particularly useful for people over  sixty. This coating could be an effective, extra protection that keeps harmful UV and blue light away from your retina. 

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF),

“By including synthetic melanin in our sunglasses, we may be compensating for the melanin lost as we age. With such sunglasses, the colors are filtered in proportion to their damage potential, and thus the danger of macular degeneration may be reduced. Many optical shops that sell prescription eyewear now have melanin lenses available.”

Summer sun protection for macular degeneration could be an essential add-on to your daily routine. Try some yellow and or melanin coated lenses while wearing a hat. You’ll be a handsome, styling, fashion-savvy citizen while protecting your eyes at the same time. Also, try a good macular supplement that follows the AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) formula which coincides with a high plant-based diet. So, kick up your dark green leafy veggies a notch or two which contains the retina strengthening carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.