Summer is in full swing, which means families everywhere are enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Dads are busy manning their grills. Children are happily blowing up their pool toys. And mothers are dutifully slathering their children with sunscreen…
After all, everyone knows by now the consequences of heading outdoors without SPF protection. Unfortunately, what many do not know is that failing to shield their eyes from those same harmful UV rays can be equally as hazardous.
Every year, millions of unsuspecting patients are diagnosed with cataracts, macular degeneration, and skin cancer of the eyelid- all these, eye disorders linked to UV exposure. It is impossible to estimate how many of these issues are caused, directly or indirectly, by sun exposure, due to the fact that damage happens cumulatively over the course of a lifetime. And yet, there is no doubt that UV protection is a wise practice. The inner eye is even more vulnerable to UV radiation in younger individuals, so it is especially important to protect children and babies when they are outdoors.
So how do we guard our eyes from the radiation that, even on a cloudy day, is threatening our future health? Here are FIVE practical ways:
1. MAKE SURE YOUR SUNGLASSES HAVE 100% UV PROTECTION. Perhaps the greatest preventative measure one can take is to invest in a high quality pair or sunglasses that are equipped to absorb 99-100% of UV A and B radiation. Look for the “100% UV” sticker when buying such glasses.
2. LOOK FOR PROTECTIVE COATINGS AND TINTS. Glare-free coatings greatly reduce exposure, with specific tints and coating now made to protect against dangerous wavelengths of visible blue light that are thought to contribute to retinal damage- specifically macular degeneration.
3. GET FITTED. Another way to be kind to your eyes is by bringing your sunglasses into a licensed optician to be optimally fitted. This ensures minimal sun exposure from all angles.
4. SUMMER HATS: STYLISH… AND SAFER. Just one more reason to invest in those trending floppy hats. Wide brimmed hats are efficient in reducing UV radiation reaching the eyes. The greater the brim, the more helpful in blocking the sun!
5. DOUBLE-FUNCTIONING CONTACT LENSES. If you wear contacts, look into those designed with built in UV protection. Keep in mind, of course, that they only protect the portion of the eye that they cover, not the entire eye or the skin around the eye.
Though the facts on eye exposure to UV rays can be frightening, being properly informed on these dangers will enable you to protect and prevent, this summer.
Concerned about the level of your sunglasses’ UV protection? Make a trip into your local eye doctor’s, where you can find many lines of sunglasses- for adults and children, alike- guaranteed to protect your eyes with 100% UV protection. You can also bring in your sunglasses to be fitted, to better guard your eyes from those powerful rays.
Enjoy the heat this summer, with the knowledge that you and your family’s eyes are protected!