See the light safely when it comes to caring for your eyes.

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.

With a Mum who was legally blind by her late 50s and my Dad losing an eye to cancer following forty years as a professional fisherman, I feel very blessed to have great vision and be prescription glasses free in my 70s. And I intend to keep it this way. With this in mind, when it comes to my diet I am a big fan of antioxidants and my daily supplements include Omega 3 fatty acids and 8 mgs of Astaxanthin (said to help prevent light induced damage and with claims of other eye-related health benefits). I avoid trans-fats by not having processed foods, and I always have organic frozen blueberries and lots of dark green vegies on hand.
My Mum's sight problem was believed to be caused by working with cordite in a munitions factory during WW2 so I keep away from allergens in the environment as much as possible. I use chemical-free products and this includes household cleaners as well as moisturisers and makeup. I don't swim in chlorinated pools and I steer clear of cigarette smoke. Unfortunately my workplace is saturated with fluorescent lighting and computer screens. I still work full-time so they are part of my life five days a week. No wonder on the weekends I can't wait to head out into the sunshine!

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!

Joanna x

Leave a comment