With summer in full swing, the days are longer, the sun hotter, and the threat from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays, greater. Excess sun exposure can put you at risk of serious short-term and long-term eye problems. This is true for young and old, year-round. Prevention is simple. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation.

Keeping Your Eyes Safe from the Sun

When shopping for sunglasses always ask the optician, or look for a tag or label that says 100% protection against both UVA and UVB or 100% protection against UV 400. UV protection is the essential piece you need to look for in a pair of sunglasses. Darkness and color do not indicate the strength of UV protection, and neither does the price tag! There is no doubt about the consequences of not protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. If your eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without proper protection, UV rays can burn the cornea-called photokeratitis- and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours. Long-term sun exposure is linked to more serious eye disease, such as cataracts, certain types eyelid cancer and growths on or near the eye. A lifetime of exposure also likely increases progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that can cause blindness. In addition to wearing UV protecting sunglasses, also consider wearing a hat with broad brim. They have been shown to significantly cut exposure to harmful rays. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen!

If you or someone you know needs to learn more about UV damage to the eye or select and be fit with proper sunglasses, please call your local optometrist to schedule an appointment.