Show Your Shades. Protect Your Vision.

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I use to think sunglasses were more of a fashion statement, an accessory to compliment your outfit, like your shoes or handbag. Perhaps my feelings stemmed from being a regular eyeglass wearer, never opting for prescription sunglasses. That is until recently when I was diagnosed with progressive signs of Pterygium.

Pterygium (also known as surfer’s eye) is the result of the cornea receiving prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. According to WebMD a Pterygium is ‘ a noncancerous lesion that usually grows slowly throughout life. Or it may stop growing after a certain point. In rare cases a pterygium can continue growing until it covers the pupil of the eye and interferes with vision.’

Although blood vessels have already started to grow onto my cornia with tissue growth expected to follow, it’s not a condition that can be reversed but protecting my eyes from the sun’s rays can slow the condition’s progression down. Along attributing to my condition, UV exposure is a proven risk factor in cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in Canada. Without protection, UV rays can lead to permanent vision loss. CNIB recommends choosing sunglasses with at least 99 per cent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Not worried about your eyesight? Download the CNIB’s iSimulator and see just how your vision will change based on some of these conditions and you might think twice.

Until June 15 you can show your support of the CNIB’s Vision Health Month by donning a pair of virtual shades to help raise awareness about eye protection and vision loss prevention. Visit showyourshades.ca and choose from one of 12 pairs of virtual sunglasses to place on your Facebook or Twitter avatar photo. I’ll be sporting a pair of fun Dame Edna frames on my Facebook page as well as investigating a pair of prescription sunglasses for the real world. I may not have the best vision but I want to protect the vision I have.

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