“My Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”! That 80’s group could have also sung “My Eyes Are So Important, I Gotta Wear Shades”! The truth is that everyone should wear shades when outside in bright light. They help protect our eyes against allergens, dust, dirt and the occasional flying object like rocks or bugs while engaging in exercise such as cycling or running. Sunglasses were designed to protect our eyes from bright sunlight and to help prevent high-energy visible light from damaging the eyes. Serious damage can begin with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and is directly related to length and intensity of exposure. The effects are cumulative and even shorts periods outside can add up. Protection with sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV radiation is critical as the risk of cataracts, a gradual clouding of the eye lens, is tripled by long-term exposure to the sun’s rays. UV radiation also increases about 15% for every 3,000 feet in altitude. That makes it especially important to get high quality sunglass lenses (or goggles for skiing) as glare from the snow and water intensifies the light. When you buy a pair of cheap sunglasses, you often give up all of the benefits and can even make things worse. For example, if your sunglasses offer no UV protection, you increase your exposure to UV rays. The cheap sunglasses block some of the light, causing your iris to open to allow more light in. This lets in more of the UV light as well, increasing the damage UV light can cause to the retina. Buying the right pair of good sunglasses for the conditions in which you use them gives you maximum protection and performance. With all the brands and styles out there, it will be easy to find quality, functional and fashionable glasses while exercising outdoors, driving your car, or just hanging outside at your favorite coffee shop! Last, but certainly not least, many athletes use sports nutrition to help with athletic performance. Did you know that there are also vitamins, minerals and herbs that can naturally help support eye health? Look for a high-quality formula with Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Bilberry, Eyebright, Vitamin C and E, Beta-Carotene and Zinc to help support the eyes from the inside out!