In the midst of the summer months, UV protection is paramount. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established July as UV Safety Awareness Month.
Although most people understand the importance of protecting their skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, fewer are aware that UV rays can also have long-term effects on vision.
Extended UV exposure has been linked to:
- Macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
- Pterygium, a non-tumorous growth on the cornea that may ultimately impact vision.
- Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens.
- Photokeratitis, also known as corneal sunburn or snow blindness. This painful condition can result in temporary blindness.
How can I protect my eyes from UV rays?
This July, take steps to protect your eyes from harmful UV exposure.
- Wear sunglasses. Make sure that you purchase lenses that block 100 percent of UV rays.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Large hats can shield your eyes from the sun. If possible, try to wear both sunglasses and a hat.
- Check the UV index before going outside. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has a UV index that will let you know how strong the sun is on any particular day. Even cloudy days can have high levels of UV radiation.
- Stay cautious at higher altitudes. Due to the atmosphere, UV radiation is stronger at higher altitudes.
- Take extra care if you’re around water, snow and sand. Reflective surfaces can increase your UV exposure, even when you’re in the shade.
Keep your eyes healthy this summer
Your vision is important to us. The best way to keep your eyes healthy is to engage in preventative care including regular, comprehensive eye examinations. If you would like to schedule an eye examination with Larson Eye Care – or if you’d like to learn more about protecting your eyes from the sun – contact us today.