July 18, 2022
Protect Your Eyes from the Summer Sun
The warm weather is here in full force, and the sun is out! After our cold Iowa winter months, we welcome the sun and the warmth it brings. But as we apply sunblock to shield our skin, we must also think of how we can protect one of our most precious assets- our eyes! Although July is a month of fun, vacations, fireworks, and celebration- it is also UV Safety month and Wolfe Eye Clinic eye care specialists would like to stress the importance of knowing what precautions are necessary to take to protect your eyes when enjoying the outdoors.
How can the sun harm my eyes?
It is easy to get caught up in activities or travel and forget about the dangers of a day in the harsh sun without eye protection. UV rays reflected off sand or water can actually cause our eyes to sunburn, potentially resulting in temporary blindness in just a few hours. Studies show that long term exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of cataracts, growths on the eyes, and even cancer. Below are just a few examples of what these harsh conditions can do.
While they are usually age related, there are
numerous ways to develop cataracts. Studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio show that UV light can cause damage to the proteins in the lens of your eye, the same way an age-related cataract would.
Pterygium, also known as surfer’s eye or eye web, can affect anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. It usually forms on the side of the eye near your nose and grows towards the pupil.
Another possible consequence of exposure to invisible UV rays is a sunburn to the
eye, also known as photokeratitis. This can occur after only spending a couple hours exposed to UV light and can be caused by reflection of light off sand, water, ice, and snow.
How can I protect my vision?
Some of the simplest actions before going outdoors can protect us against harmful UV sun rays. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds us of the importance of wearing a broad-brimmed hat and 100% UV-Blocking sunglasses. Parents, it is important to be sure to combine glasses and sunscreen for your children on your outings year-round. This can prevent or delay possible sun damage to the eyes of your children later in life. Check out these interesting facts regarding sun protection below.
- 74% of parents apply sunscreen on their children but only 32% make sure they are wearing UV-protected sunglasses
- UV light can easily pass-through haze and clouds- an overcast day does not mean you should skip the shades!
- Buying darker sunglasses does not necessarily mean you’re getting more protection! Look for sunglasses that block 99% or 100% of all UV light.
While enjoying this summer, our eye care specialists here at Wolfe Eye Clinic encourage everyone to continue to learn about how to keep our eyes healthy and safe from any harm. If you have further questions regarding eye protection or would like to schedule an appointment to see a Wolfe Eye Clinic specialist, call us at (833) 474-5850 or fill out a form here.