Help Protect Your Eyes
Summer usually means more outdoor activities for most of us. Wearing sunglasses is important because they protect your eyes from sun damage, including corneal sunburn. Even children need protection. Your eyes are exposed to two types of ultraviolet radiation while in sunlight:
· UVB rays –these rays generally affect the surface area of the eye, cause sunburn and may damage the cornea and the lens of the eye. In addition, these rays have been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration of the eye, and certain growths on the surface of the eye.
· UVA rays – while these rays are generally less intense, they can penetrate deeper into your eyes. UVA rays also cause wrinkles to the skin around your eyes.
While everyone is at risk for eye problems caused by the sun, certain medications such as sulfa drugs, tetracycline, birth control pills, diuretics and other medicines increase the eye’s sensitivity to light.
UV rays are at their highest levels during the hours between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm in the summer months. You can reduce your exposure to these rays by staying indoors during these hours, wearing a brimmed hat while outside, and wearing sunglasses with UV protected lenses.
· Sunglasses that say they block harmful UV rays is not enough, they should state exactly how much protection the sunglasses provide.
· Polycarbonate material is the most impact-resistant material, particularly important when buying sunglasses for children.
· Add UV coating to prescription glasses – this is fairly inexpensive to do
· Darker lenses do not mean that there is more UV protection, it is the special UV chemical coating that allows the lenses to block the UV rays
· Polarized and mirrored sunglasses do not automatically block UV rays. They must also be treated with UV coating.
· Larger frames are better since they protect a larger area around the eyes.
· More expensive sunglasses don’t necessarily contain greater UV protection, sometimes their cost is more associated with fashion or material costs of the frames. Again, look at the label regarding the level of UV protection the sunglasses provide.
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