We all know how important it is to use sunscreen to protect our skin from Ultraviolet (UV) rays during the summer. But protecting your eyes is equally important.
Even though July is UV Awareness Month, our eyes are at risk to UV rays all year round. Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths on the eye including cancer.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays come from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays are an invisible kind of radiation that can penetrate and change skin cells. The three types of UV rays are ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC).UVC rays are actually the strongest but are mostly absorbed by the atmospheric ozone; UVB rays come in contact with the outer layer of the skin; UVA radiation is the most concerning, as it penetrates deep into the skin, all the way into the inner layers.
- Protect your eyes especially when the sun is at its strongest. In North America, UV rays are the greatest during the late spring and early summer, with 10am-4pm as the most hazardous for UV exposure.
- Buy sunglasses that provide 100% UV-A rays and UV-B rays protection. A pair of light-tinted glasses that are designed to block UV rays are more effective than glasses with dark lenses that aren’t.
- Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, wear your sunglasses whenever outside.
- It’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, when UV light is most intense.
- Sunglasses that wrap all the way around to your temples are preferable, so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
- Wearing a broad-brimmed hat or using an umbrella can also help shield your eyes from UV exposure.
- Avoid looking directly at the sun, which can cause damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.
- Even on a cloudy or overcast day, the sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime.
Your eye doctor can help you find sunglasses that will provide the best protection and the most comfort, even with prescription lenses! Likewise, your association and AMBA have an excellent Vision Plan that gives you access to thousands of doctors nationwide and amazing savings on prescription eyewear, at discounted group rates. Learn more at www.AMBAdentalvision.com or call 866-979-0497.