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July is UV Safety Awareness Month

5 Tips to Protect Your Eyes From the Sun

Most of us know the sun is bad for our skin but did you know the sun wreaks havoc on the eyes, too? You may not be able to slather your eyes in sunscreen but you can help shield them. It’s still just as important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays as it is to shield your skin. Ultraviolet rays can lead to numerous health problems ranging from skin cancer around the eye to pink eye. They can also cause cataracts, photokeratitis (a kind of sunburn of the cornea) and pterygium (a white or creamy fleshy growth on the surface of the eye).

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Most of us realize that staring into the sun for long periods of time isn’t good for our long-term vision. Its rays actually reach our eyes in a variety of ways. Fresh snow, for instance, reflects as much as 80% of UV radiation, which means we can damage our eyes even by looking down, even in the winter. Sea foam reflects about 25% of UV radiation, dry sand about 15%. Even grass, soil and water reflect UV rays (less than 10%).

Researchers estimate we receive 80% of our lifetime exposure to UV rays before age 18. Compared to their parents, children have larger pupils (allowing more light into their eyes) and clearer lenses. Plus, kids are outside without eye protection more frequently and for longer periods than
most adults.

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So what should you do to protect your eyes and your children’s eyes? Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Know when the sun is the strongest;
  2. Wear the right lenses;
  3. Wear the right frames;
  4. Double up; and
  5. Wear the right contacts.

If you have questions, your eye doctor can help assist you in finding the right combination to protect your eyes.

For more information about summer eye protection and tips, read here.

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