Protect Your Eyes from Harmful UV Rays This Summer
Florida is known for year-round sun, but in the summer, that sun can be especially hard on the eyes. Since July is UV Safety Month, the whole team here at Eye Centers of Florida would like to educate patients who want to know more about UV radiation from the sun, why it’s dangerous, and what you can do to stay safe!
What is UV Light and Why is it Dangerous?
UV light is the term used to describe invisible, high-energy radiation from the sun and a few other light sources. There are three types of UV light: UVA and UVB from the sun, and UVC which is a rare product of extremely bright light sources like mercury lamps and welding torches.
UVA is the most common source of UV light, making up 95% of sunlight. It’s also the least harmful but can cause premature aging and damage to the surface of the skin. When it comes to your eyes, UVA rays can damage the macula (the center of the retina), causing macular degeneration (AMD).
UVB is the radiation that’s associated with cancer-causing skin damage. Sunspots, rashes, and sunburn are most commonly caused by UVB light. The cornea and lens (the front parts of the eye) are most damaged by UVB rays, causing cataracts and other degenerative eye conditions.
How to Protect Your Eyes from Harmful UV Light
Most people take extra care to protect their skin during the summer, using high-SPF sunscreen on any skin that is exposed for a longer period of time. UVB radiation can cause skin damage after just 15 minutes of unprotected exposure.
While you should definitely take steps to prevent skin damage from the sun, it’s important not to disregard the health of your eyes while doing so. Here are a few tips, courtesy of the experienced team of eye doctors at Eye Centers of Florida:
- Always wear sunglasses and/or a wide-brimmed hat: Wearing a hat on sunny days when you go outdoors is a great idea, but don’t be fooled into thinking that a hat is enough protection for your eyes. Some of UV-containing sunlight will reflect off sand, water, and other surfaces, meaning that you could be vulnerable from a variety of angles. Wearing a pair of sunglasses is the only way to be sure that you’re protected.
- Don’t just trust any sunglasses: Speaking of sunglasses, however, not all are created equal. Some of the most fashionable shades don’t stand up to harmful radiation. Make sure when you purchase sunglasses, they come with a sticker that verifies that they’ll protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
- Don’t underestimate the power of sunlight: Every day, people go outside and make the mistake of thinking that sunlight can’t penetrate a layer of clouds. Even when it isn’t “sunny,” you can still be at risk from the sun’s rays, so make sure to use all the same protection that you would if it was a bright, gorgeous Florida day.
Trust Eye Centers of Florida for High-Quality, Affordable Eye Protection!
At the optical shops at Eye Centers of Florida, we can get you set up with a pair of sunglasses (prescription or non-prescription) that fits your style and your budget. Come into any Eye Centers of Florida location and learn more!