Things are heating up for summer!
For a lot of us, that probably means spending more time outside, but it also means more exposure to harmful UV rays. Are you prepared with the proper sun protection, particularly sunglasses?
UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision
Even if we’re careful not to look directly at the sun, just being outside for extended periods can be enough to get sunburns on our eyes. These are called photokeratitis, and symptoms include redness, a grainy feeling when blinking, light sensitivity, tearing, and blurred vision. In snowy areas, photokeratitis is often called “snow blindness,” but it’s also a problem on sandy beaches in the summer.
Longterm, UV exposure can have cumulative effects on our vision, including increasing the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. We also become more vulnerable to pterygium or “surfer’s eye” (an overgrowth of the clear tissue of the whites of the eyes towards the iris) and pinguecula (white or yellow bumps that form in the whites of the eyes).
Wear Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyesight from UV Rays
The first priority we should all have when choosing a new pair of sunglasses is making sure they offer full UV protection. Check the label to see if the pair you’re interested in blocks at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Large lenses are also a good idea, because they offer more coverage. Polarized lenses offer even better protection because they eliminate the glare from sunlight bouncing off surfaces around us, including other cars and the surface of the water.
Other Tips for UV Protection
In addition to always wearing sunglasses when outside during the day, there are other things you can do to keep your eyes (and skin) safe from the sun:
- Minimize the time you spend in the sun during the brightest hours of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Wear wide-brimmed hats for additional shade.
- Use sunscreen!
We Can Help You Find the Perfect Sun Protection Gear!
If you’re not sure which sunglasses are the best for protecting your eyes from UV rays, we can help! We’re happy to offer recommendations for great sunglasses (especially if you’re interested in prescription sunglasses), and make sure to contact us or schedule an appointment if you’re experiencing symptoms of sun-related eye problems.