Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Don’t overlook proper eye protection
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Every angler has at one time or another
forgotten something in their rush to leave for a fishing trip.
It’s disheartening when that something is
sunglasses. Squinting and shielding your eyes for hours takes some of the fun
out of the experience.
“More than just the damage or discomfort
from the bright light, you start getting eye strain because you’re squinting to
make your pupil even smaller because your pupil doesn’t get small enough naturally,”
said Dr. Seema Capoor, an associate professor of Ophthalmology at the
University of Kentucky. “The squinting causes brow ache and tension headaches.
It’s much more comfortable and safer with sunglasses.”
However, not all sunglasses are created equal.
The best cut glare and make it easier to see into the water but also block the
sun’s harmful rays.
Amid a sea of brands and styles and lens
types and colors at a wide range of prices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by
the choices, so stick to some basic criteria when selecting a pair.
“For something like fishing where you’ve got
a lot of reflection off the surface of the water and you’re out in direct
sunlight my recommendation would be to go with more of the wraparound style of
sunglasses,” Capoor said. “Get the good UV filter in the lenses and
polarization. The anti-reflective coating or mirror coating on the outside
surface is also very helpful.”
Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100
percent of ultraviolet rays.
Ultraviolet radiation can affect different
layers of the eye and continued exposure without protection may lead to
permanent eye damage. Regular use of sunglasses can slow down cataract
formation and lessen the risks of macular degeneration. They can also retard
the development of pterygium, an eye condition distinguished by a wing-like
growth on the cornea that can interfere with vision and affect anyone who
spends a lot of time outdoors, Capoor said.
know it’s associated with exposure to ultraviolet light,” she said. “Fishermen
get it a lot. Farmers get it. And closer to the equator where people are at
higher altitudes, they get it. It can start out young and then the continued
exposure without protection can make it progress and get worse. It can require
Children and people with light-colored eyes
should be particularly mindful about wearing sunglasses.
“Times have changed and there’s more
penetration of ultraviolet light from the atmosphere than there was 30 years
ago,” Capoor said. “It is advisable for children, especially blue-eyed or
light-eyed children, to be wearing protective sunglasses now.”
Composite lenses made from impact-resistant
polycarbonate material are lighter than glass and ideal for anglers.
Polycarbonate also is the preferred lens
material for shooting glasses. Protective eye wear is required at all shooting
ranges on Wildlife Management Areas in Kentucky.
“Things can happen when you’re shooting
guns,” said Mark Marraccini, spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Fish and
Wildlife Resources and an experienced trap shooter. “A lot of your automatics,
whenever the shell is ejected and it comes flying back, little hot flecks of
burning powder may come out with it. They’ll get in the corner of your eye and
they’re painful. Plus, a lot of times, other people on ranges are shooting and
there’s the off chance that you can get ricochets and deflections or pieces of
shot. On pistol ranges, bullets shatter when they hit steel silhouettes and you
can get sprayed that way.
“It’s important to remember that there’s a
real serious explosion at really high pressure that’s happening about three
inches in front of your face. When you put it that way, shooting glasses are
On the water, polarized lenses are highly
recommended for anglers because they sharpen vision by reducing glare from the
Darker lenses don’t necessarily block more
UV rays although they may be preferred by people who are extremely sensitive to
light. The environmental conditions can dictate the right lens color.
Gray, brown and green tints are best at
providing maximum contrast while maintaining clarity and offering the most sun
protection, Capoor said.
Most anglers prefer grey, green or amber
Gray is a good all-purpose lens tint that
cuts down on extremely bright conditions and won’t distort colors. Green also
limits color distortion, reduces glare and improves contrast in bright sun.
Brown and amber are versatile tints that cut glare and filter out blue light,
increasing contrast and sharpness, especially on cloudy days.
Yellow reduces glare and enhances depth
perception and contrast in low light or hazy conditions. It is considered a
better option for shooters than anglers.
“Different lens colors will help different
colored targets stand out better,” Marraccini said. “In different lighting
conditions, they make the targets even more visible than if you weren’t wearing
any glasses at all.”
We’re taught to apply sunscreen liberally
and often to protect our skin from overexposure to the sun. Sunglasses and
shooting glasses are just as important. Summer is a great time to shop around
for the right pair and to remember not to leave them at home. Your eyes will