Chloe Tear Shares her thoughts on sunshine.
Waking up and realising the sun is shining bound to brighten your day! Especially because of the weather we have had recently. However, when you live with sight loss it may not be as straightforward as grabbing the sun cream and heading outside.
It does not seem fair to start criticising the sun when the glorious weather has just started, but let’s try to be realistic and see both the positives and the negatives. From personal experience I know the sun can come with several implications and added difficulties. For me this means I can be very sensitive to natural or artificial light. As a result, this can cause eye strain and quickly develops into a headache which is never pleasant. To help with this I often wear sunglasses and have found this to be really useful. Despite sunglasses helping I have found that when I am wearing them people perceptions of myself change.
I use a long cane to support my independence and help me navigate curbs and obstacles. Unfortunately, the assumption that is made far too often by the general public is that I am blind- not partially sighted. When I wear sunglasses I have found that this assumption is made even more often! However, if it causes less eye strain then wearing sunglasses will be the way forward.
What other issues can the sun cause?
The sun can quite easily obscure things for anyone; this is even more heightened when you have a visual impairment. It can make it even more difficult to see traffic lights, signs and obstacles. As a result, you may consider going out with someone who can support you with these added difficulties. Sunlight can be easily reflected off surfaces meaning it causes a lot of glare and affects your level of sight.
In line with advice given by RNIB it is very important to protect your eyes when out in the sun. Research suggests that the harmful UVA and UVB rays contained in sunlight may be a factor in a number of eye diseases, in particular cataracts. To protect yourself from these light rays it is recommended that you wear sunglasses with UV filter which can reduce the damage cause to your eyes.
All this aside, enjoy the sunny weather and stay safe!