Are You Protecting Your Eyes This Summer?

Posted on June 20, 2022 by shieldsandboris

It’s that time of year when we know we need to reach for the sunscreen. You need to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. However, when you reach for the sunscreen, you should also be reaching for a pair of sunglasses, and not just because of how they look. We tend to underestimate how much of a risk the sun can pose to our eye health.

How the Sun Can Damage Your Eyes

UV rays enter the eye and penetrate the front covering of your eye, the cornea. This can be harmful in a variety of ways. In the short term, being over exposed to the sun can irritate your eyes and make them swollen, bloodshot, and even hypersensitive. Your eyes can actually sunburn, although the effects are usually temporary.

In the long term, unfiltered light can damage the corner of the eye as well as the lens and retina. This overexposure can lead to cataracts, growths on the eyes, and macular degeneration. It can also lead to some types of skin cancers on the eyelids that are difficult to treat due to their location.

Tips for Protecting Your Eyesight

Sunglasses are likely to help reduce your risk of damaging your eyes, but the pair of sunglasses and how you wear them can have an impact too.

  • Block those UV rays – When you look for sunglasses be sure they will block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays. The label should indicate how much protection they offer.
  • Consider the shape – Sunglasses should wrap around the face some, as those block the light from all sources. Flat fronted glasses don’t offer protection on the sides the way that those that wrap around the face do.
  • Don’t be fooled by the tint – Just because the lenses are darker doesn’t mean they offer more protection. Lighter lenses can still offer strong protection.
  • Opt for polarized – This lense will reduce the reflection from horizontal surfaces such as snow, water, or the hood of a car. This doesn’t offer additional protection but will help reduce eye strain.
  • Sunglasses aren’t just for sunny days – Even on cloudy days, and during the winter, you should grab a pair of sunglasses. Clouds don’t offer full protection from the sun and reflective surfaces such as snow can actually be more harmful.
  • Go for quality not just a brand name – Often you pay for the label and look, but the lense may not be high quality. Low cost sunglasses often meet the requirements to protect your eyes too.
  • Wear them over contacts – While some contact lenses may offer UV protection, you should still wear sunglasses to maximize your eye protection.

The next time you step outside, especially if you plan to be outside for very long, be sure you reach for a pair of sunglasses. Our eyesight is important and the longer we can keep our eyes healthy, the better off we will be.

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