How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays This Summer
It’s summer, and while most people will take the time to protect their skin with sunscreen it’s just as important that we also take care to protect our eyes from UV rays.
During the summer months we spend significantly more time outside soaking up the sunshine, spending time with family, enjoying outdoor sports, and relaxing at the beach. If we are not careful, the sun can seriously harm our eyes, which may even lead to long-term eye damage.
Stop putting your eyes at risk this summer with our simple tips on how to protect your eyes from sun damage.
1. INVEST IN A PAIR OF QUALITY SUNGLASSES
UVA and UVB are different wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation. The best sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays are marked as “100% UV Protection.” These sunglasses will give you the best defence against harmful UV rays. Look for sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. While most sunglasses will have UVB protection, only some will also have UVA protection. You should also pick sunglasses that wrap around your eyes so the sunglasses can better protect your eyes from all directions. To cut glare, consider wearing polarized glasses and if you normally wear eyeglasses, consider purchasing a pair of prescription sunglasses.
2. SEEK OUT SHADY AREAS DURING PEAK HOURS
UV Rays are strongest between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Most experts will recommend that you try to stay in shaded areas during this peak time to prevent sunburn and avoid skin cancer but shade will also help protect your eyes against permanent damage. Sit under a tree, find a shelter, or use an umbrella to protect your eyes from UV rays, especially mid-day when they are the strongest. Be cautious on cloudy overcast days when it may not seem too bright – UV Rays can be just as strong!
3. AVOID LOOKING DIRECTLY AT THE SUN
Staring directly at the sun can cause solar radiation and a serious condition called solar retinopathy. With solar retinopathy your eye’s retina is damaged. Many may think your eye is simply burned by looking at the sun but it is actually a photochemical injury. A typical symptom of solar retinopathy is temporary vision loss lasting anywhere from one month to over a year. In some severe cases you may see a yellow spot that changes to a red spot after a few days. Don’t put yourself at risk. Try not to look directly at the sun, even if you are wearing sunglasses.
4. ADD A HAT TO YOUR WARDROBE
In addition to sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat or a baseball cap can provide extra shade for your face and act as a second defence against harmful UV rays. A hat can also help keep you cool and protect your skin.
5. MAKE SURE YOUR KIDS ARE PROTECTED
As you cautiously lather sunscreen on your children make sure you also protect their eyesight. Your children are more vulnerable to UV ray retinal damage because their eye is clearer and UV rays can penetrate deeper into the eye. Children also spend significantly more time outside than adults, especially during the summer. Along with sunscreen, make sure they wear a hat and warn them of the dangers of looking directly into the sun.
6. WEAR UV SWIM GOGGLES AT THE POOL AND LAKE
If you are in the pool or lake and don’t want to wear your sunglasses consider buying a pair of UV swim goggles. This is a great idea for children who can easily spend several hours each week swimming. Swim goggles can also help protect the eyes from bacteria and pool chemicals.
For more information about summer eye protection, sun damage, or general eye health, please call our Unionville Optometry office at 1-905-477-4488 to make an appointment with Dr. David or Krista Innamorato.
Do you also suffer from seasonal allergies in the summer? Read Unionville Optometry’s article on Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of Eye Allergies.