2 min read, Tips For Optometry Patients
July may be UV Safety & Awareness Month but your eyes are exposed to the dangers of UV rays all year long. As UV damage is cumulative over time, it is important we be aware how this exposure can harm your eyes.
Without effective protection our eyes are at risk of UV damage that can lead to acute or permanent conditions including:sunburned eyes (sunburned cornea); known as photokeratitissurfer's eye (growth on cornea and/or conjunctiva); known as pterygiumhypersensitivity to lightcataractsmacular degenerationcancer of the eyes
Knowing these key facts about UVA and UVB exposure may help you to make smart, safe choices for yourself and your children: UVA accounts for up to 95% of UV radiationUp to 80% of the sun's rays can pass through clouds40% of UV exposure comes from non-direct sunlightReflective light is just as harmful as direct sunlightWater reflects up to 100% of UV raysSnow reflects up to 85% of UV raysConcrete/dry sand reflects up to 25% of UV raysGrass reflects up to 3% of UV raysLight coloured eyes increase photosensitivity as do cataracts and some prescription drugsThe sun's rays are strongest between 10am and 4pmPolarized lenses, while beneficial for increasing safety during activities such as driving, reduce glare but do not filter out UV raysChildren's eyes are especially susceptible to UV radiationUV damage is cumulative over timeThe darkness of lenses is not an indicator of UV protection in sunglasses
Certainly not everything about the sun is bad. Spending time outdoors can help improve your health and well-being. Establishing these good habits will help you enjoy the beautiful sunshine safely. Wear sunglasses all year long, even in the winter and on overcast daysPurchase sunglasses with a UV400 rating or 100% UVA and UVB protection (tip: they don't have to be expensive)Wear broad rimmed hatsDress children in hats and non-breakable, polycarbonate sunglassesAvoid prolonged exposure to the sun; if outdoors for an extended period of time, seek some shade or use a shade umbrellaMore coverage equals better protection; when choosing sunglasses, opt for larger or wraparound stylesWear sunglasses while driving; car windows do not provide enough protection from UV raysNever look directly at the sunAvoid tanning beds where UV exposure to the eyes is 100x greater than natural sunlight
Finally... don't forget the sunscreen! Ok, this isn't for the eyes but it's just smart.
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