By now you’ve probably heard people telling you to wear sunscreen so many times that you’ve become annoyed by it. You know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but did you know that it’s just as important to protect your eyes? Protecting your eyes from the sun is actually pretty easy to do, but many people simply don’t think about it or realize just how important it really is.
The first step in protecting your eyes is to understand what you’re protecting them from. The two types of UV rays from the sun are UV-A and UV-B. Both of them can cause numerous eye problems. UV-A can damage your central vision and the macula which is part of your retina at the back of your eye. UV-B rays are mostly absorbed by your cornea and lens, but the rays that get through can cause extensive damage over time.
The sun’s UV rays can cause several eye problems including:
- Cataracts – The clouding of your eye’s natural lens that focuses the light you see.
- Pterygium – A growth on the white of the eye and possibly the cornea that can block vision.
- Skin Cancer – Skin cancer that develops around your eyelids is considered an eye problem.
- Corneal Sunburn – Also known as photokeratitis, this can cause temporary vision loss and be very painful.
- Macular Degeneration – UV rays can cause macular degeneration which is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.
So what can you do to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays? The most effective option is wearing sunglasses. Look for a pair that blocks out 99 to 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. If you already wear glasses, you can get prescription sunglasses which means you have no excuse to not protect your eyes. Wide-brimmed hats are also recommended when you’ll be out in the sun for any length of time.
To learn more about prescription sunglasses, call Spindel Eye Associates at 603-421-6536.