Do you take efforts to protect your skin from the sun’s dangerous UV rays but neglect to use UV protection for your eyes? Before stepping outside to enjoy the warm Texas weather, it’s important to understand the dangerous effects the sun’s UV rays can have on your eyes and know how to properly protect your eyes from damage that can result in one of several eye conditions.
The sun emits powerful UVA and UVB rays, which are commonly associated with skin conditions, melanoma and even immune suppression. What many people fail to recognize are the dangerous effects these rays can also have on the eyes. UV rays produced by the sun can increase your risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and even cancer of the eye.
Read more about health effects from overexposure to the sun from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Proper UV protection for your eyes can prevent damage from the sun’s UV rays, and can save your vision. To fully protect your eyes, follow these steps:
- Wear sunglasses that are designed to block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. (Wraparound sunglasses are ideal, as they will also block rays from entering from the side.) UV protection has nothing to do with the degree of dark tinting on your sunglasses.
- Also, wear a broad-billed hat to fully protect your eyes.
- Wear sunglasses, even on cloudy days. Though clouds may eliminate brightness from the sun, UV rays can still pass through the clouds and cause damage to your eyes.
- Protect your eyes in all seasons. Don’t be fooled into thinking you should only wear sunglasses or a hat in the summer. The sun emits UV rays year-round.
- Pay attention to peak sun times. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. It is best to avoid being outdoors during these hours. If you must be outside during peak sun hours, always wear proper protection.
- Wear eye protection if you tan in a tanning bed. Tanning beds emit UV rays and proper eye protection should be worn when tanning.
While the sun’s rays are very dangerous when we are overexposed to them, minimal exposure to natural light is unhealthy. There is research that suggests that our eyes require some exposure to natural sunlight each day in order for our bodies to maintain normal sleep-wake cycles. If you plan to be outside for more than a few minutes, always take your sunglasses with you. For best protection, take a hat as well.
Read more about protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays in this article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
When considering your eye care, be sure to stay up to date with the latest news and information about our life-changing services at Key-Whitman Eye Center. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected!