The importance of protecting your eyes from the sun

Anytime you are out in the sun, no matter what time of year, it’s crucial that you protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Here are some reasons why you want to take care of your eyes and the simple things you can do starting now.

UV damage to eyes and surrounding skin

UV radiation can cause serious eye conditions and damage the delicate skin around the eyes. This includes a corneal sunburn (yes, you can sunburn your eyes), cataracts, macular degeneration and eye cancers. Snow blindness is another condition that’s caused by exposure to UV reflections off of water, snow, ice and sand.

UV exposure to the skin around the eyes leads to premature aging and even eyelid skin cancers. Untreated eye cancers can lead to serious complications, including blindness.

Simple sun protection

Here are some simple things you can do every day to protect your eyes and skin from the sun’s damaging rays:

  • Wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Know that cloud cover doesn’t block UV light. The sun’s rays can move through haze and clouds.
  • Wear a tightly woven, wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes, ears, face and top of your head.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Find the shade when the sun is most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Do not look directly at the sun as it can damage the eye’s retina and cause an injury called solar retinopathy.
  • Avoid tanning beds as well. The UV light from tanning beds is just as dangerous as the UV radiation from the sun.

It’s important to have a healthy exposure to sunlight as long as you wear your sunglasses and hat. You also need to have regular eye exams to maintain the health of your eyes and identify any diseases or conditions at their earliest, most treatable stages. Call (800) 676-5050 to set up an appointment at one of our several locations.

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