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Protect Your Eyes From the Summer Sun

Summer Eye Protection

Now that summer has finally arrived, most people are excited to catch some rays. While you’re putting on sunscreen, remember to not leave your eyes unprotected.

 

Why Is Protection Important?

An overdose of UV rays has been linked to an increased occurrence of eye diseases, cataracts, and cancer by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). These risks are much higher among skiers, farmers, and people who spend a lot of time living or working in the midday sun or near bodies of water. Many of these conditions take years to develop. However, each time you go out unprotected, you could be compounding damage in your eyes.

 

How Do You Protect Yourself?

Though many think of this as a summer-only issue, it’s a year-round concern. Anyone who has been skiing can attest to the high-reflectivity of a winter’s day. Even cloudy days don’t thoroughly block rays from the sun. People with light-sensitivity often experience just as much pain on cloudy days as sunny ones. So any time you’re planning on being outside, wear sunglasses. When purchasing these glasses, check the labels. If they’re UV-absorbing/blocking, it will be explicitly stated. Prior to driving with them, check that you can still distinguish color properly through them.

Don’t ever look directly at the sun. Even during an eclipse, this can result in solar retinopathy—damage caused by solar radiation. Hats with a 3” brim are recommended as they can block up to half of the UV rays otherwise directed at your eyes. And never leave anyone out; ensure that children and parents alike are following these guidelines for eye safety.

 

Don’t Cut Out the Sun Altogether

Although it’s important to keep your eyes protected from powerful UV rays, studies suggest that short periods of minimal exposure can have a positive impact. According to the AAO, studies suggest that some amount of sun exposure is important in maintaining regular sleep-wake cycles. Additionally, it cites evidence that outdoor exercise aids in maintaining eye health in children.

 

A Happy Medium

Sunlight and vitamin D are beneficial to the human body in many ways. However, there’s an increasing awareness of the risks involved in overexposure. Just as the last 50 years have brought a dramatic shift in how sunblock was used, attention also needs to be directed at our eyes. Enjoy that summer sun, but mind your retinas! For more information, schedule an appointment with Dr. Judd in Hendersonville, TN today.