Is Colorado the sunniest state?

Colorado’s sunshine glows an average of 300 days a year. As one of the sunniest states, protecting your vision is a priority. Between altitude, snow, and sun protecting your eyes from UV rays is just as important as sunscreen.

Why is there a greater risk of sun exposure in Colorado?

According to the US’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), today at our Vail office the UV index is moderate exposure. It is important to take precautions outside. Including hat, sunglasses and SPF of 30+.

Moderate does not seem too bad, right? That may be the case, but in Colorado May through August, Colorado is typically in and out of the extreme UV risk. That means protection against sun damage is needed. Try to stay out of the sun from 10am to 4pm seeking shade when out.

Beyond the sunny days, we also see higher UV indexes due to our altitude. According to the EPA, altitude affects radiation through increasing about 2% every 1,00-foot increase. This is due to thinner air.

How is this affecting vision?

We are obviously most interested in your vision. With that said, overall health is always important and should not be overlooked. That is why we mention all safety that should be taking in higher UV index. Specifically let’s look at vision.

As we age, we take more serious precautions to protect our skin from age spots and wrinkles. That is why many people apply sunscreen daily. Well, just as sunscreen protects your skin, UV blocking glasses protect your vision. With the proper tools, you can block almost all of the UV rays from reaching your eyes and causing damage.

What eye damage is caused by the sun?

The sun’s damaging UV rays can create issues in your vision. Serious conditions such as Photokeratitis, Pinguecula, Pterygium, Cataracts, and Macular Degeneration.

  • Photokeratitis – this is typically known as “snow blindness.” Caused by UV rays reflected off snow and eyes.
  • Pinguecula – an alteration of normal eye tissue by a deposit of protein and fat in the thin membrane of the eye.
  • Cataracts – when your lens begins to breakdown creating cloudy vision.
  • Macular Degeneration – loss of center vision
  • and more

What precautions should Coloradans be taking?

It is important to be safe in the sun. Do not burn, avoid tanning beds, apply sunscreen, wear protective clothing, stay in the shade, get vitamin D through diet vs. sun. Also, especially in our Colorado winters don’t underestimate the show reflect as the damaging rays can increase your risks of UV exposure.

Let us help you pick the right shades to fit your needs. From our patients out skiing and snowboarding to our boating experts, there are options for everyone. It is important to talk to a specialist to identify the needs you may have, and the level of UV protection needed for your daily activities. Some patients can utilize transitional lenses, while others need polarized lenses. We have every solution you may need, so don’t wait contact us now for an appointment.

Our optical team is well versed in:

  • Polarized lenses
  • Ski goggles
  • Safety glasses
  • Transitional lenses
  • And more!