Keep an Eye on Ultraviolet (UV) Safety
Growths on the eye, such as pterygium, can show up in our teens or twenties, especially in surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers, or anyone who spends long hours under the mid-day sun or in the UV-intense conditions found near rivers, oceans, and mountains.
Diseases like cataract, age-related macular degeneration, and eye cancers can take many years to develop, but each time we're out in the sun without protection we could be adding damage that adds to our risks for these serious disorders. Babies and kids need to wear hats and sunglasses for this very reason. People of all ages should take precautions whenever they are outdoors.
See Also: What causes cataracts?
Follow these tips to protect your eyes from the sun:
- Select sunglasses that block UV rays. Don't be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the price tag or how dark the sunglass lenses are.
- Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose wraparound styles. Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun's rays can't enter from the side.
- Wear a hat in addition to your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed styles provide the best protection for your eyes.
- Don't rely on contact lenses. Even if your lenses have UV protection, remember to wear your sunglasses, too.
- Don't be fooled by clouds: the sun's rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime—so be sure to wear sunglasses whenever you're outside.
- Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, which is damage to the eye's retina from solar radiation.
- Take special care at peak sun times: It's best to avoid exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's UV rays are the strongest, but if you must be outdoors it's especially important to shield your eyes with a hat and sunglasses.
- Don't forget the kids and older family members: everyone is at risk, including children and senior citizens. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses.
See Also: Facts and tips about sunglasses.
UV Light: Good in Moderation for a Good Night's Sleep
As we sleep, our eyes enjoy continuous lubrication. During sleep the eyes also clear out irritants such as dust, allergens or smoke that may have accumulated during the day. Some research suggests that light-sensitive cells in the eye are important to our ability to regulate wake-sleep cycles. This may be more critical as we age, when more people have problems with insomnia. While it's important that we protect our eyes from overexposure to UV light, our eyes also need minimal exposure to natural light every day to help maintain normal sleep-wake cycles.
Next Page: Summer Sun Eye Safety