For May’s UV Safety Month, be sure to read these important facts about the sun and your vision.
There are few things that are better than the first few days of sunshine after a long, dark, cold winter. After what seems like an endless winter, the first days of spring in May and June have every part of our bodies craving the sunshine, from the dull winter fog that has clouded our mindset, to our pale skin that is just itching for a glowing tan. However, before you head out into the sunshine to soak up the UV rays, it’s important to understand the underlying dangers that are hiding behind that tempting summer sunshine.
For our fragile vision especially, the sun’s UV rays can cause significant, long-lasting damage that is often cumulative and irreversible. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that we practice proper precaution when we are out in the sunshine, or even when we go out on cloudy days. To help you learn more about the importance of UV safety during the month of May and all summer long, here are 7 important facts about sun damage and our vision.
1. There are three types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. However, only UVA and UVB rays can pass through the atmosphere and onto the Earth’s surface. Once they do reach the Earth, UVA rays account for up to 95% of UV radiation. While these rays may be less intense than UVB rays, they are 30-50 times more likely to produce long-term, severe damage to skin.
2. 94% of people do not know that exposure to ultraviolet light can be damaging to their eyes. This is extremely dangerous because our eyes are exposed to UV light 365 days a year, even when we may not be in full sunlight. For instance, 40% of UV exposure occurs on cloudy or overcast days, when you think that the sun is not dangerous. However, cloudy days are actually when UV rays can be the most dangerous.
3. Our eyes are our bodies only internal tissue that is directly exposed to UV radiation.
4. 5-10% of skin cancer occurs on our eyelids, which can not only be dangerous to our overall health but can also can cause premature aging and wrinkles. In fact, 90% of visible premature aging that occurs around our eyes is caused primarily by UV damage from the sun.
5. Wearing protective eyewear is one of the simplest, yet most effective to protect your eyes from UV damage. While UV-protecting sunglasses are, by far, the best option for protecting your vision, even clear UV-protected glasses are better than wearing nothing. In fact, UV protective glasses (even with clear lenses) can even help to delay the onset of cataracts.
6. Light that is reflected off of surfaces can be just as damaging as direct UV light. For instance, UV rays reflected off of water and snow can be severely damaging, while dry sand and concrete reflect up to 25% of rays and grass reflects up to 3% of rays.
7. Morning and evening sun is the most damaging to our vision. In fact, the level of UV entering the eye in the early morning hours (8am-10am) and late afternoon (2pm-4pm) is nearly double that of midday hours (10am-2pm) during most times of year.
In order to protect yourself and your vision from the dangers of UV radiation, be sure to wear UV-protection sunglasses or a hat that covers your eyes whenever you are outside, especially during the sunny months. Also be sure to contact OCLI today to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from common UV-related vision problems.