Eye Protection Sun

Many people enjoy being in the sun. However, whether you’re swimming in the pool, playing volleyball at the beach or taking a short walk around the neighborhood, you’re exposing yourself to harmful UV rays. While some people know that they need to protect their skin from the sun, others don’t know the importance of protecting their eyes from sun damage.

In fact, experts recommend that you always protect your eyes when outside. Without eye protection, your put your eyes at risk to sun damage, red eye and/or eye irritation. The good news is that protecting your eyes is relatively easy. Often, a cheap pair of sunglasses will do the trick.

Who is at Risk for Sun Damage?

Everyone is at risk for sun damage at any time of the year, not just during summer. However, those who are in the sun more than others are at greater risk. Some of these people include:

  • construction workers
  • farmers
  • fishermen
  • gardeners
  • lifeguards
  • surfers.

If your job or hobbies require you to spend a lot of time outside, make sure to take extra precautions to protect your eyes from sun damage. Be especially careful to protect your eyes when you are around sand, water and snow, as these elements reflect the sun, intensifying the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

Effects of Sun Damage

Without the proper precautions, you may find yourself headed for a slew of potential eye problems. Sunlight emits invisible, high-energy UV rays, which can cause a dangerous reaction in the eye.

Here are some of the eye disorders that can be caused by exposure to the sun:

  • Cataracts: Harmful sun rays can damage the eye, leading to cataracts, or a clouding of the eye’s lens that can worsen over time. Cataracts will ultimately blur and dim your vision.
  • Macular Degeneration: The inner lining of the eye can thin as a result of excess sun exposure.
  • Photokeratitis: This temporary but very painful condition of the cornea is comparable to sunburn. It can cause vision loss.
  • Pterygium: Pterygium is a benign growth on the conjunctiva of the eye. These growths can eventually block or interfere with vision.
  • Skin Cancer: You’ve probably heard of skin cancer but might not know that it can affect your eyes. Both facial skin and eyelids can develop deadly melanoma with overexposure to the sun.

Selecting Sunglasses for Eye Protection

Luckily, many styles of sunglasses on the market offer your eyes great protection from the sun and its damaging rays.When selecting sunglasses, keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Consider color: Darker tints do not necessarily mean more protection. While the tint should reduce irritating glare, you should be able to differentiate between traffic signals. The best tints are neutral gray, amber, brown or green.
  • Ignore the price tag: You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on designer glasses to get eye protection from the sun.Pricier sunglasses do not necessarily mean more protection.
  • Read the label: The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation includes both UVA and UVB rays. When buying sunglasses, look for a label that promises protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Good sunglasses can offer 99 percent to 100 percent UV protection. If the pair you are considering don’t offer a high degree of protection, move on to the next pair.
  • Study the frames: Some sunglass frames offer more protection than others. Since rays can hit your eyes from the sides of the glasses, consider buying wraparound frames or frames with very wide legs.

Still not sure if the sunglasses you are looking at offer proper protection from the sun?If you can’t figure out whether a pair of shades offers adequate UV protection, bring them in to an eye care professional.

Also, remember that kids should be wearing sunglasses too.When buying frames for your children, follow the same steps you would to buy a pair for yourself and look for a pair with shatter-resistant lenses.

Other Ways to Protect Your Eyes

Along with wearing sunglasses, here are some other ways you can protect your eyes:

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is the strongest.
  • Buy contact lenses that feature UV blockers.
  • Wear a hat.