Young family relaxing on the beach

July is UV Safety Month, and what better time to be aware of ways to protect yourself from harmful UV radiation? The summer comes with beautiful, sunny weather and it’s a great time to spend hours out in the sun.

But when you go out, you need to take precautions. Keep reading to learn more about UV Safety Month!

Dangers of UV Rays

Ultraviolet light is a form of radiation. Like other high-energy forms of radiation, it can cause health issues when you’re exposed to too much of it.

The main source of UV light is the sun, but it also comes from manmade sources that simulate sunlight. This includes things like tanning beds.

You may have already heard about how hazardous tanning beds can be to your health. That’s because of the direct exposure to UV light.

UV light comes in three different wavelengths: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC is thankfully blocked by our ozone layer, but UVA and UVB get through.

Both UVA and UVB rays can be harmful to your skin. UVA rays are able to deeply penetrate the skin and cause wrinkles while UVB rays affect the surface of the skin and cause sunburns.

UVB radiation is more harmful to your eyes. Exposure to UVB radiation can increase your risk of developing cataracts as well as cause growths on your eye called pterygium.

All forms of UV radiation have also been shown to cause cancer. Protecting yourself is best for your short-term and long-term health.

Sunglasses

The number one way to protect your eyes from UV light is by wearing sunglasses. But some cheaper sunglasses don’t have lenses that filter out UV light very well.

Be sure when you buy a pair of sunglasses that they have a tag indicating they block out 99% of UV rays. You should wear sunglasses whenever you know you will be outside for a while.

You also should use them when you’re driving in sunny weather. Remember that you should always wear sunglasses, even if it’s cloudy outside. UV light can still penetrate through clouds and cause damage.

Even when it isn’t summer, you should always have sunglasses handy as it can get sunny any time of year. Sunlight is usually more intense in the summer but it can also be reflected by white surfaces like snow. Wearing sunglasses whenever you’re outside without shade is a good thing to practice in every season.

For extra protection, you can also wear a hat that keeps the sun off your face while also preventing sunburn and damage to your eyes. Children especially should wear hats and sunglasses whenever they are in the sun. Their skin and eyes are more vulnerable while they’re still growing.

Don’t Forget To Wear Sunscreen, Too!

Sunglasses protect your eyes, but be sure to protect your skin, too. The best way to do that is with sunscreen. You should wear good quality sunscreen that’s reapplied every few hours.

Also, consider covering up when you can in lightweight clothing when it’s warm. The less exposed skin, the better.

But no matter what you’re wearing, be sure to get sunscreen on any exposed skin. Not wearing sunscreen when you’re outside can lead to lasting damage from the sun’s rays.

Enjoy the warm weather this summer and spend as much time outside as you want. Be sure to practice UV safety to protect yourself and your family from skin and eye conditions!

Want to be sure that your eyes are in the best possible shape for summer activities? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME!

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