The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky – it’s the perfect day to hit the great outdoors and soak up the rays. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, a day in the sun could have a serious impact on your eye health. According to the American Skin Cancer Foundation, exposure to UV rays can lead directly to melanoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. It’s even possible to experience corneal sunburn (or photokeratitis), which can have a serious long-term impact your vision. Symptoms of sun damage to the eyes can include: pain or redness in the eyes, swelling, light sensitivity and temporary loss of vision.
With that in mind, here are five easy ways to ensure your eyes are protected from harmful UV rays.
Not all shades are created equal. Avoid poorly manufactured sunglasses. Instead, invest in quality lenses that fit your face properly and are clearly marked as having 100% UV protection. For maximum UV protection for the eyes, try a pair of wraparound frames that protect your eyes from all angles. For help selecting a correctly fitting frame, chat with a FYidoctors optician near you.
Sunglasses are your eyes’ first line of defense against harmful UV rays, but a hat with at least a 2 to 3-inch-wide brim offers additional protection. Not only will you reduce UV exposure for your eyes, but a hat can also help protect your face and head from sunburns.
If possible, avoid the sun between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. when UV rays are at their strongest. This doesn’t mean you have to head indoors. Instead, grab some shade or create your own with a portable umbrella—which is also a great accessory to have on-hand to ensure you have shade at the beach. Additionally, don’t be fooled by overcast skies. UV rays can travel through cloud cover and haze without losing their potency.
Even while wearing a pair of sunglasses, looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, is never a good idea. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, staring at the sun can lead directly to solar retinopathy—a serious condition in which your eye’s retina is damaged by solar radiation.
When the sun is shining, nothing beats a cool, refreshing dip in a pool or lake. Unfortunately, many people leave their shades and hats on the shore—exposing their eyes to sun damage. In fact, UV rays can not only travel under water, but also are magnified by it. That’s why it’s a great idea to grab a pair of swimming goggles with built-in UV protection. Not only will it protect your eyes from UV rays, but it also offers additional eye protection from bacteria and chemicals.
To ensure your eyes are free from UV damage and to learn what sun-protecting options are best for you, contact your local FYidoctors team.