Growing up, were you told looking directly into the sun would make you go blind? That’s somewhat of an extreme outcome, but it is true the sun can cause serious damage to your eyes.
The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays, both of which are commonly associated with skin conditions, melanoma and even immunity suppression. These UV rays can also increase your chances of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal burns and even cancer of the eye.
As Texas weather starts to warm up, more people are spending time outdoors. But before you step outside to enjoy the sun, it’s important to understand the dangerous effects its rays can have on your eyes and know how to properly protect yourself to prevent damage that could lead to permanent vision loss.
Follow these tips from the doctors at Key-Whitman to keep your eyes safe form harm:
- Wear sunglasses designed to block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound sunglasses are ideal, as they also block rays from entering from the side. UV protection has nothing to do with how dark the tint of your sunglasses is. If you need prescription sunglasses, the Key-Whitman Optical Center offers a variety of designer sunglasses to choose from.
- 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.
- In addition to sunglasses, you should wear a broad-rimmed hat for added protection.
- Protect your eyes in all seasons. The sun emits dangerous UV rays year round.
- Pay attention to peak sun times. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. It is best to avoid being outdoors during these hours. If you must be outside during peak sun hours, always wear proper protection.
- Wear goggles when skiing as well as when tanning in a tanning bed. UV rays are strongest at higher altitudes, and tanning beds emit damaging UV rays.
Though the sun’s UV rays can be harmful to your eyes, don’t avoid spending time outside for fear of damage by the sun. There is plenty of research suggesting the sun is a valuable source of vitamin D, an essential nutrient for a healthy body, including the eyes. Daily exposure to natural light also helps the body regulate sleep/wake cycles.
Get outside and soak up some sun—just be sure to grab your sunglasses on the way out the door!