Keep Your Eyes Safe from the Summer Sun

We all know the importance of protecting our skin from the sun’s UV rays, but what about our eyes?  I recently sat down with THV11’s Ashley Blackstone to discuss the best methods for protecting your eyes from sun damage while still enjoying the warm weather.

1.            Know the risk.

Recent research by the American Academy of Ophthalmology shows that UV radiation from the sun or from other sources of UV light, such as tanning beds, can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts and cancer of the eye.  It’s essential that you protect your eyes whenever you’re outdoors in the daytime, or any time you’re exposed to UV rays from other sources.

2.            Wear sunglasses.

Even if it’s partly cloudy or hazy, sunglasses should be worn whenever you are outside because the sun’s rays pass through clouds or haze.  Be sure to get sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays; they don’t have to be any certain color or cost a lot of money to protect against UV exposure, but the ones that do will say so on their packaging.  UV exposure happens year-round, so keeping your sunglasses close at hand in cold weather is also a must for healthy vision.  And your sunglasses should wrap around to your temples to provide the best protection.

3.            Don’t forget the kids.

Children’s eyes are just susceptible to UV damage as adults.  Your kids need sunglasses for going outdoors too, again with 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection. Try to minimize their exposure (and yours) between 10am and 2pm, when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.

4.            Watch for secondary exposure.

UV rays coming directly from the sun are an obvious threat to healthy vision, but reflected rays are just as dangerous. It’s especially important to shield your eyes when you’re in a reflective environment, like at the lake, the beach or other places where the sun’s rays reflect off of water or sand and into your eyes.

So whether you’re catching rays at the beach, picnicking with your family or simply mowing the lawn, be sure to grab a pair of sunglasses. You can still enjoy the beautiful sunlight, while making sure your eyes stay healthy as long as possible.