woman at the beach

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recognizes July as UV Safety Month. During this month, the AAO raises awareness about how to keep your eyes safe from harmful UV light.

UV light, especially when it’s coming from sunlight, is harmful to your skin and eyes. It’s vital for everyone of all ages to use standard safety techniques to keep themselves safe.

Be sure that you’re following these simple techniques, and if you have children, make sure they also understand the importance of UV safety. Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your eyes safe during UV Safety Month and all year long!

The Dangers of UV Light

UV light, or ultraviolet light, is a spectrum of light most commonly found in sunlight. It can also come from manmade UV light bulbs, such as the kind used in tanning beds.

While getting sunlight is important for staying healthy and helping your body produce Vitamin D, too much exposure can be a bad thing. Too much UV can damage your skin as well as your eyes.

In the short term, UV radiation can burn your skin. If you’re exposed over a long period of time, it can lead to skin cancer which can be a very serious health concern.

Just as UV light can damage your skin, it can also damage your eyes in the short term and long term. You can dry out your eyes and even develop growths from overexposure over a short period.

In the long term, too much sunlight can increase your risk for cataracts as well as other age-related eye conditions that can cause vision loss. You can also develop cancer in the eye.

With all these dangers, it’s clear how important proper UV safety can be. The good news is that it’s easy to keep your eyes safe as long as you do a few simple things.

Safety Tips

Wear Sunglasses:

Sunglasses are the best form of protection against UV light. You should wear them whenever you’re outside for an extended period.

Even on cloudy days, sunlight can still damage your eyes. Be sure to also only buy sunglasses that say they block out 100% or at least 99% of UV rays. Any other kind of sunglasses won’t fully protect your eyes.

Wear Wide-Brim Hats:

Besides wearing sunglasses, wearing a hat with a brim on a sunny day can add extra eye and skin protection. Wide-brim hats are also great for children and babies who are too small for sunglasses.

Stay in the Shade:

Whenever possible, stay in the shade. If you go to the pool, sit under an umbrella if you can.

Bring an umbrella to the beach. Try to hike in shaded areas like the woods. Also, be sure to limit your time outside on particularly hot days.

Being outside too long when it’s very sunny and hot can not only cause damage to your eyes from UV radiation but also because of dehydration. So be careful this summer and know your limits!

Stay Away from Tanning Beds:

While tanning beds use artificial UV light, they still can do a lot of harm to your skin and eyes, especially if you get repeat treatments. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the tanning salon. Your body will thank you!

Concerned that your eyes may not be as safe as they should be this summer? Schedule an appointment at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME, today!