By the end of July, you’ve likely spent a small fortune buying sunscreen products to protect you and your family from the summer sun. However, there is one area of the body that you’re certainly missing: your eyes.
In this post, the team at Island Eye Surgicenter explains why and how you can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
The Dangers of the Sun
Excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful UV light increases the risk of serious eye disorders, including cataracts, ocular cancer, macular degeneration and growths on the eye (such as pterygium). The eyelid skin is very thin and vulnerable to UV light; also, the eye’s lens and cornea are transparent and years of absorbing UV rays can damage these structures.
According to the American Cancer Society, 2,580 new cases of ocular cancer are expected this year, and the majority of cases are melanomas linked to excessive sun exposure. Twenty four million people will develop cataracts.
You may be at a heightened risk of developing problems if you have fair skin, light eyes and work or recreate outside for long periods of time. However, nobody is immune to the harmful effects of the sun. Cancer and cataracts won’t develop overnight, but every time you step outside without the proper eye protection, you are putting your eye health and vision at risk.
Sun Protection Tips
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses whenever you’re outside. Look for pairs labeled “UV 400” or “100 percent UV blocking.” Choose lenses of a sufficient size to shield your eyes and eyelids. Wraparound sunglasses are ideal. Polarized lenses will eliminate glare.
- Add a broad-brimmed hat (at least 3”) for extra protection. A tinted visor can also help.
- Apply sunscreen to the rest of your face.
- Be diligent, even on cloudy days.
- Try to seek shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
- Remember that the sun’s rays reflect strongly off of water and sand.
- Do not stare directly into the sun.
- Check your medications, as certain meds — e.g., birth control and antibiotics — may make your eyes extra-sensitive to the sun.
Contact Island Eye Surgicenter
Are you experiencing a troubling symptom in one or both eyes? Have cataracts substantially clouded your vision? Learn more about cataract removal and treatment of other common eye disorders by scheduling an appointment at Island Eye Surgicenter.
Call (516) 877-2400 or (516) 877-1560 today to speak to a member of our team.