During the summer we always think about protecting our skin from the sun, but we should also be thinking about protecting our eyes from UV rays as well. Increased exposure to sunlight is known to put us more at risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration so it’s important to think about how we can limit the damage from UV rays. It’s also vital to remember that sun damage does not only occur in the summer, we are also at risk throughout the rest of the year too.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to help us protect our eyes from sun damage.
Don’t focus on colour or darkness of sunglass lenses: Select sunglasses that block UV rays. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the price tag or how dark the sunglass lenses are.
Check for 100 percent UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.
Choose wrap-around styles: Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
Wear a hat: In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.
Don’t rely on contact lenses: Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, remember your sunglasses.
Don’t be fooled by clouds: 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.
Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever outside, and it’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.
Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.
Don’t forget the kids: Everyone is at risk, including children.
Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses. In addition, try to keep children out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.