Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

With summer in full swing right now, people are concerned with protecting their skin from sun damage, applying sunscreen to protect their skin from UV rays.  However most people forget that their eyes need protection from the sun.  Damage from the sun has been implicated in the development of skin caner around the eyes, pterygia (degenerative growths on the eyeball), macular degeneration and cataract development.

Proper eyecare is essential to protect your eyes from the damage associated with the sun.  Protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays helps minimize the risks of developing serious eye conditions such as cancer, cataracts and macular degeneration.

To protect your eyes from the dangers associated with the sun, there are some basic things that you can do to minimize the risk associated with sun damage.

Wear sunglasses, especially those that wrap-around or are well fitted.  The bigger the sunglasses the better as well as they limit how much sunlight can enter the eye through the sides of your eyes.  The color of the glass that is in the sunglasses is not important, but they should be polycarbonate or plastic lenses that block bteween 97 and 100 percent of the UVA rays and 100 percent of the UVB rays.

The darker the glass does not mean more protection.  Studies have shown that the darker the glass the more your pupil will dilate, thus allowing more of the UV rays to enter the eye.

Another easy way to protect your eyes is to wear a wide-brimmed hat.  Hats such as baseball caps, or wide-brimmed hads block sunlight from reaching your eyes from above.  Just because the sun isn’t shining directly or there is cloud cover does not mean that you are not at risk.  UV rays can penetrate clouds and can still result in damage to your eyes.

It is very important that you protect yourself in the early afternoon when UV rays are at their strongest.  If you are at higher altitudes, it is also important that you use protection.

With these two simple things, your can reduce the risk of eye damage caused by the sun, and continue to enjoy the warm summer weather.