Putting on sunscreen might protect our skin during the long days of summer, but are we properly protecting our eyes from sunlight reflecting off sand and water? The more time we spend outdoors, the more we expose our eyes to bright sunlight, particularly UV rays which damage the eye’s surface tissue.
When the eyes get sunburned, photokeratitis is the result, a painful and dangerous condition causing redness, blurriness, and even temporary blindness. Even in the absence of photokeratitis, chronic exposure to sunlight can still accelerate the aging of eye tissue.
Fortunately, it’s easy to protect our eyes following the helpful tips below:
- Wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection.” While any UV-blocking sunglasses can help lower the risk of potentially blinding eye diseases, only glasses labeled UV400 or 100% UV protection block both UV-A and UV-B rays. Darker sunglasses don’t necessarily provide better protection, although sunglasses should block out 80% of transmissible light.
- Wear larger sunglasses. Wraparound, or oversized, frames can help prevent UV light entering the eyes from all angles.
- Even with UV-blocking contact lenses, you still need sunglasses.
- Wearing a hat, especially a broad-brimmed hat of 3 inches or more, helps provided added protection for your eyes.
- Wear sunglasses even when it doesn’t seem sunny. Keep in mind that UV rays pass through haze.
- Avoiding the midday sun between 11 and 3 should help to avoid the highest concentrations of UV light. Also, be aware of reflective surfaces like sand, pavement, and even water; although polarized lenses help reduce the intensity of reflective surfaces.
- Keep extra pairs of sunglasses on hand in case your primary pair gets damaged or misplaced. You should never spend time outdoors without protecting your eyes.
- Make sure your children wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV light.
If you have questions about the right eyewear to protect your eyes from UV rays, please call our eye care specialists at 877-871-1684.Leave a reply