More Sunlight Means More Protection
Summer is a favorite season for many people all across the country. Not only does it mean summer vacation for children and long holiday weekends spent with family and friends, but it also brings us long days filled with sunshine and warm weather. Whether your favorite summer activity is lounging around the pool, road trips to your family cabin or beach house, or simply relaxing outside with a good book, the long summer days leave plenty of time for basking up the sun.
However, longer days of sunlight do not only mean more time for fun and outdoor activities (although this certainly is a bonus), but also spell danger for both your skin and your vision, so protection is vital and necessary.
While many people are aware of the dangers that UV light can have on your skin―exposure to sun burn, increased risk of skin cancer, etc.―not many people realize that the summer sunshine can be just as dangerous (if not more so), to our fragile eyes.
Some Effects of UV Exposure
- Intense exposure to UV light can cause a “burn” to the eye surface, not unlike skin sunburn. In fact, results from dozens of studies suggest that spending long hours in the sun without eye protection not only increases the chances of developing eye diseases, including cataracts, but even low amounts of sunlight can increase your risk of developing eye disorders.
- UV radiation can cause a “burning” on the eye’s surface, also known as “snow blindness” or Photokeratitis from sunlight. Photokeratitis is an inflammation of the cornea caused by a brief exposure to UV radiation, usually when combined with cold wind and snow.
- Like a “eye sunburn”, it may be painful and may create symptoms including red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.
- The effects of this dangerous occurrence typically disappear within a few days. However, it could lead to further complications later in life if it occurs more than once.
Damage to the Retina
- There are also long-term effects that come with our eyes being over exposed to UV radiation, which are significantly more serious. For example, radiation over a period of many years may increase the chance of developing a cataract, and may cause damage to the retina, the nerve-rich lining of the eye that is used for seeing. This damage to the retina is usually not reversible.
Protect Your Eyes From UV Rays
So, if we protect our skin from the dangers of summer sunshine by using sunscreen, how do we protect our eyes? Some things that you can do for your eyes are:
- Wear quality sunglasses that offer a good amount of protection is vital during the summer especially, but you should wear them all year round. Here are some tips on finding a great pair of sunglasses for yourself!
- Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outdoors for a prolonged amount of time.
Your eyes are one of the most important aspects of your body, and your vision is not something that should be taken for granted. Be sure to protect your eyes this summer by wearing the proper protective gear that is necessary for shielding your eyes from harmful UV rays.