During the summer months, most of us love to spend as much time in the sun as we can. We all know that the sun is not always a friend to our skin, but what we might not know is that the sun can be harmful to our eyes as well (even if we aren’t staring directly at it). But don’t worry; this doesn’t mean we are destined to spend all of our warm days inside. There are many strategies available to help us to protect our eyes and enjoy the sun.

“Just as UV radiation (UVA and UVB) from the sun and tanning beds can damage our skin, unprotected exposure to UV rays can also damage our eyes,” confirms Sphere Optometry’s Dr. Danielle Gordon.

She says that UV radiation can not only lead to multiple forms of skin cancer and premature aging to the skin around our eyes, it can also hasten cataract development, increase risk of macular degeneration and conjunctival cancer, and also solar keratitis (effectively a sunburn of the cornea).

The key to ensuring your eyes aren’t being damaged by the sun is as simple as wearing the proper sunglasses year-round.

“It’s a common misconception to think that the sun’s rays are less damaging when it’s cold out, but the converse can actually be true, especially if dealing with reflections off the snow,” says Dr. Danielle. “Reflections off sand and water can also pose increased risk.”

So, what are considered the “proper” sunglasses? Unfortunately, the sunglasses you find at your typical apparel retailers or the gas station are not doing the job of fully protecting your eyes from the sun.

“Some good news: in Canada, all sunglasses must meet UV400 level protection; however, only opticals or sunglasses stores can guarantee this level of protection,” says Bethany Thompson, frame stylist and manager at Sphere. “But UV400 is where you’d like your lenses to be to properly protect your eyes from sun damage.”

Wearing sunglasses offers many benefits and the tint of lens you choose could benefit you in different ways. For example, green lenses are beneficial to golfers because they improve the contrast on grass as well as against blue sky; or grey lenses darken more than other colours, helping those with light sensitivity. Polarization on top of the colour is great for reducing glare.

“But the number one thing is style, let’s be honest!” says Bethany. “Find a style you love, and you’ll never leave them behind!  You’ll always want to have them on and love being in them.”

Secondary in importance to style is fit.

“Make sure they fit you well. If they are always falling off or have huge gap areas where the sun is still bothering you, then the sunglasses aren’t doing their job.”

Some independent brands that Bethany recommends that ensure they cover all of your sun protection needs are: “Raen, a company that does effortlessly cool styles for anyone and everyone; Moscot, great for vintage styles and is commonly worn by celebs all the time; and if you love funky styles that people will spot from a mile away you can’t beat Kaleos!”

And, remember, “Be sure to choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 to wear daily and take special care to apply on the skin around the eyes,” say Dr. Danielle.


A curated summer reading list from Amy Lin, book nerd and topknot enthusiast.

Follow Amy at @literaryrunner


Summer: when everything feels endless and stretched out, like taffy on a wire of blue on blue on blue. It’s my favourite season, by far, and I always find it with a book in hand and three more beside me. It’s delicious, having such a long ribbon of light to stay awake reading within and should you wish to curl up and join me, here are just a few of my favourite books for your reading pleasure.


Citizen – Claudia Rankine

In this blistering and necessary collection of image, essay, lyric, and poetry, Rankine is clear about the realities of living in the Black body. With clarity and eloquence, she digs into the “well of racism, spring of imagined fears” that bears the relentless experience of aggression and micro-aggression that Black citizens endure constantly and that continues to perpetuate the terrible tension between the invisibility and hypervisibility of Black people. Poetry, critique, record, and witness, Rankine’s Citizen is required reading.

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace – Patty Yumi Cottrell

There is a moment in this darkly hilarious, moving debut novel where the narrator, Helen, pauses a wild monologue to say: “My point is, how is anyone supposed to live with anything?” This is the resounding question of this sharply voiced, modern noir that focuses on Helen’s search for answers after she learns her adoptive brother has committed suicide. Entirely unto itself, Sorry To Disrupt The Peace will make you laugh, break your heart, and fill you with a relentless and undeniable hope.

Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead – Olga Tokarczuk

Tokarczuk’s singular, stunning novel is a murder mystery. A woman, Janina, discovers her neighbour, Big Foot, dead in the middle of a harsh Polish winter, and as the novel unfolds, more men die. Told in Janina’s doomsy, beguiling, quirky, but direct prose, Drive Your Plough Over The Bones of the Dead is deeply concerned with humanity in relation to animals and the way the limitations of living – our aloneness, our ailing bodies, our entrapment in time – open up the wonderful, the overwhelming, the piercing vastness of living.

What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky – Lesley Nneka Arimah

This spry and inventive collection of short stories brings together realism, absurdity, fable, and everything in between. Nneka Arimah has a striking and keen ear for emotional tenor and all these stories from the fantastic to the realistic evoke grief, loss, brokenness, and vulnerability with empathy and sharp insight into these ineffable and deeply felt emotional states. Human nature is fraught and never easy here but in Nneka Arimah’s capacious and richly textured imagination, each story is slyly humorous, deeply moving, and wholly original, rendering the experience of each story a rare and wonderful discovery.

Treasure Island!!! – Sara Levine

Laugh out loud funny, this slim novel involves an unnamed mid-twenties woman who decides to become BOLD, RESOLUTE, INDEPENDENT, and HORN-BLOWING, which are the qualities she perceives as inherent to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. The journey this decision puts the narrator on wreaks undeniable havoc, unearthing secrets and pain in the lives of those who love her, but by the undeniably affecting conclusion, the narrator finds an emotional centre amidst her crippling fear that is one perhaps all of us hope for: a guide to firmer ground.

The Cost of Living – Deborah Levy

Written in Levy’s fluid, evocative prose that reads so easily it feels like floating, Levy’s remarkable living memoir reckons with change of all kinds: the end of her marriage; her mother’s death and dying; a new sense of liberation that is rapidly undercut by the time a raw chicken she is bringing home for dinner is flung off her bike’s cargo basket and run over by a car (she still eats it for dinner). Throughout, Levy questions what it means to be a woman, what it means to keep on, eyes stinging but fixed upon the horizon that is still there, real and imagined, beckoning.