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Understanding the Sun’s Impact on the Eyes

With the warm summer weather inching closer, it’s important to remember the impact the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can have on your eyes.  While many take the steps to protect their skin from the summer sun, the eyes are often neglected, leaving patients at a greater risk for a wide range of eye conditions.  In fact, 74% of parents make their children wear sunscreen while only 32% require them to wear UV-protected sunglasses.

The sun can pose a number of different problems for our eyes. Excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays over a short period of time can cause photokeratitis, a painful condition that can leave patients with redness, blurriness, tearing, swelling, sensitivity to light, and more.  Additionally, photokeratitis can be caused by the sun reflecting off of water, sand, and more, so it’s crucial to exercise caution when spending time outdoors.

Long-term sun exposure can be harmful to the eyes as well, increasing the risk for conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, and even eyelid cancers.  So what are some of the ways you can keep your eyes safe this summer?  Keep reading to find out!

How You Can Protect Your Eyes From the Sun

  • Choose the right pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory, but rather an important tool in protecting your eyes from the sun. Select a pair of sunglasses that offers 100% UV protection, as they will be the only glasses that can effectively block both UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Wear a hat. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can offer your eyes additional protection from the sun’s rays.
  • Be aware of the sun’s peak hours. The sun is strongest from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so it’s important to exercise extra caution or avoid sun exposure at these times.
  • Remember that sun damage can still occur on a cloudy day. The sun’s rays can pass through clouds and haze, so it’s make sure to protect your eyes even when it doesn’t look like the sun is shining.

Ophthalmologist in Winchester

To learn more about how you can keep your eyes safe this summer, contact us today and schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Winchester, serving Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. We can be reached at (540) 722-6200, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in: Eye Health

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