Pristine sandhills under vivid blue Australian skies are one of nature's most beautiful sculptures, but sometimes they come with a 'take care' tag. In this case it was high-voltage glare from the summer sun and the possibility of treading on a snake. So as much as I love sunshine and feeling the sand under my feet, when we hit the dunes on our 10-day deserted beach getaway I was never without my utilitarian Brookes runners, a cap with a wide visor, and my ROC Eyewear sunnies.
The Brookes were token protection from the Death Adders that live in the area - the warning was that they bury themselves just under the sand with their small grub-like tail protruding as a lure for little creatures, and that they are among the most venomous snakes in the world. I had seen one disappear under a bush by the beach house so I knew they were around.
And my cap and ROCs? The light reflecting from such a vast area of cream-coloured sand was instant squint-ville - not good for my eyes or the sensitive skin around them. For me, sunshine is synonymous with being healthy, so I love soaking it up rather than blocking it out, but as usual I listen to my body and if my eyes aren't feeling good, then they need protection.
Remembering what happened to my Dad because of all those years of glare from the ocean with little eye protection, I take extra care at the beach, out on the water, or wandering around in sandhills. Most days are fine - my eyes enjoy the brightness with just a cap or a straw hat. But some days are super glary - cause my eyes to squint - and then it's an opportunity to give my fave ROC sunnies an airing.
What I love about ROCs is that they don't just do it from a fashion perspective, much more importantly the lenses are high grade optical-1 quality with 100% UV protection. Please be careful when you buy sunnies - vague claims of 'absorbs UV rays' without further information is meaningless. So give sunnies the third degree before you trust them to shield your precious eyes on days when the glare-factor calls for heavy duty protection.
I reckon the way to keep our eyes healthy when we are outdoors, as well as lift our mood and general wellbeing, is to leave our eyes bare and able to soak in as much natural light as possible, but to keep a pair of high quality sunnies in our bag to protect them when they let us know they need some help.
And by the way, I'm happy to report that no snakes were sighted on our daily sandhill sojourns!