Wearing sunscreen, properly hydrating and taking time out of the sun are some of the best ways to protect ourselves from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays during the summer. However, protection doesn’t stop at the skin. This UV Safety Awareness Month, we must not forget the value of protecting our eyes from the sun.
UV exposure can damage eye tissue and increase the risk of developing several eye conditions, including cataracts and macular degeneration. These conditions can be costly to manage and, when diagnosed too late, can lead to vision loss and even blindness. UV exposure can also break down the sensitive tissues of the macula — the middle of the retina — which is responsible for central vision and fine detail perception.
Sunglasses can prevent vision loss and other eye conditions that may develop from prolonged, unprotected UV exposure. Here are a few tips to consider when picking out your pair:
- Make sure they have 100 percent UV-protective coating and block UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Choose wraparound styles or oversized frames — they are more likely to block the sun’s rays from the side.
- Consider photochromic sunglasses — they block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays and darken automatically in sunlight.
Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that protecting eyes does not start in adulthood — children are also vulnerable to UV rays. So, this UV Safety Awareness Month, make it a family affair to wear sunglasses and get some reprieve from the sun!
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