We all know that glare from the Sun can be a nuisance, but what people may not consider is the ways in which it can affect our health and safety. In this article we’ll be reviewing what exactly glare is, what causes it, the effects it has on our bodies, and how you can protect yourself in the future.
To start, we’ve all experienced it at one time or another, but let’s clarify what exactly glare is and where it comes from. Put simply, glare is a sensation of discomfort caused by harsh, uncomfortably bright light. It causes strain and can inhibit our eyes from intaking a clear image when the light from the glare source is brighter than the object(s) on which our eyes are trying to focus. Glare can be created by sources like particularly bright light bulbs, screens, and vehicle headlights, but the most common and unrelenting source of glare is the Sun.
There are two main types of glare. “Discomfort Glare” does not interfere with vision clarity, but causes headaches, eye pain, and other forms of physical discomfort or annoyance. Think of a particularly bright day when the Sun is at its highest point and there are no clouds in sight. It may be uncomfortably bright, and you may be squinting, but you’re still able to take in your surroundings clearly.
In addition to being downright annoying, intense light from the Sun can have harmful effects on our health and safety. It causes hundreds of car accidents every year, creates eyestrain, has a strong correlation to migraines and headaches, and studies have suggested that it can increase the risk of cataracts.“Disability Glare”, on the other hand, causes a loss of visibility due to stray light from bright sources being scattered within the eye. For this type of glare, think of when you’re driving West as the Sun is setting. The direct and intense brightness from the Sun shining at this particular angle can prevent you from reading highway signs, seeing traffic lights clearly, or noticing pedestrians crossing the road. The objects in the foreground on which you’re trying to focus are quite literally outshined by the Sun.
That being said, there are simple preventative measures you can take to enjoy the brilliance of the Sun without experiencing its negative effects. First of all, always wear sunglasses outside to filter the Sun’s intense UV rays, and opt for polarized lenses to prevent glare and eyestrain. If you require prescription lenses, there are a number of prescription and clip-on sunglass options available at affordable prices in today’s market, so you don’t have to sacrifice style or convenience while protecting your eyes. In addition to sporting protective eyewear, consider wearing a brimmed hat if you’re planning to spend an extended period of time outside in direct sunlight.
By taking these simple steps to protect your eyes, you don’t have to let glare from the Sun prevent you from doing the things you love.