Glasses

Dave Bulthuis never leaves the dock, or on a hunting trip without sunglasses, eyewear that protects from the sun's harmful rays. Working for Costa del Mar, Bulthuis knows the benefits of protecting your eyes to prevent major eye problems later in life.

Editor's note: This is the third part in a Survive the Seasons series

Black Friday. Cyber Monday.

Who among us who celebrate the holidays thought it would it would come to this?

Certainly not us Baby Boomers.

Amidst the Christmas shopping which certainly begins well before Black Friday, loved ones will seek the just-right gift for their beloved who venture outdoors — men and women.

Think about this: How many of those outdoors lovers would love to have that pricey reel, or that new 20-gauge shotgun, or a last-for-a-lifetime hunting coat?

Everyone on your list, right?

After fishing with Dave Bulthuis in last summer’s heat, the question of sunglasses came up. OK, so Dave is a vice president at Costa del Mar, and sunglasses are his business, but for those who’ve come through cataract surgery, and didn’t know how the sun can damage eyes so many years ago, now know the how destructive effects the sun’s rays can have on skin and eyes.

Most among us have taken great pains to use high SPF sun screens in the past years. Dermatologists constantly remind us to check our skin routinely to discover that rough patch, or that mole, or some dark spot. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills, and there are other forms of skin cancer. Early detection can be life saving.

But your eyes?

Bulthuis answer was simple: “I see guys everywhere who’ll spend $200 or more on a fishing reel, then buy a $5 pair of sunglasses. And they’ll buy more of those reels, but not invest the same amount on sunglasses that can save their eyes. I don’t understand that.”

The guy lives in Florida, fishes as much as humanly possible, and told how is company works with eye doctors for the best protective eyewear.

“We’re not the only company doing that,” Bulthuis said. “There are others making good sunglasses, and while we’re in competition, we’re delivering the same message — anyone who spends time in the outdoors needs to protect their eyes.”

If you’ve spent anytime outside in bright sunshine, you know your eyes suffer. Redness, irritation, even swelling, but if you ask your opthamologist about an issue you had with your eyes, he or she will tell you if you look near the sun — not directly at it — and your eyes hurt, you might have a problem.

Bulthuis said his sit-downs with eye doctors taught him about problems like ultraviolet keratitis (staring at or near the sun for long periods), cataracts, growths on your eye, macular degeneration and cancer. Any number of websites on this subject will have loads of information. Try the Cleveland Clinic and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Like your skin, the best advice is to protect eyes from UVA, UVB and UVC rays. Sources indicate it’s the UVB rays causing the most damage to eyes and skin.

Get quality sunglasses that protect from UVB rays, and wear a hat with a brim wide enough to protect your eyes. (And use sunscreen on your face so you don’t look like some form or a mutant raccoon when you get off the water).

And, just because we associate sun damage from the summer’s sun, don’t think for a minute winter’s sun is any less damaging. Those late fall and wintertime “bluebird” days mean much clearer skies than we have during our summers, and just because the sun is lower in the southern sky doesn’t give you a pass on eye or skin protection.

Remember that you “snow bunnies” heading to the mountains. But you already know about sun, white snow and snow blindness.

The idea here is to keep you enjoying the outdoors for years to come. You don’t want to take away any time you have sitting in a doctor’s office, or in an operating room.

Happy Holidays.