When the sun comes out, we are all careful to apply sunscreen to protect our skin, but are we showing the same care for our eyes? Harmful UV rays can slowly damage your eyes over time and put you at risk for conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and thickening of the white parts of the eyes.
Although everyone needs to be careful about UV exposure, certain individuals need to show extra concern. If you work outdoors or if you have fair skin, you must be especially cautious. Children must also be careful about time in the sun. Too much UV exposure is proven to accelerate the development of cataracts. Studies show that people who spent more time in the sun tended to get cataracts about 8 to 10 years before people that spent more time in the shade.
Summer sports and home activities can also pose risk to your vision. Whether mowing the yard, throwing a baseball, hammering nails or playing racquetball, you should wear protective eyewear. This is not just for the summertime, but summer offers even more opportunities for outdoor activities that could cause eye injury.
Here are some tips to help you protect your eyes this summer:
- Wear a hat when it is sunny or when you are spending the day outside
- Whether cloudy or sunny, wear sunglasses that offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection
- Wear all recommended equipment and protective eyewear for sports
- Protect your eyes even when you are a spectator at sporting events
- Use common sense. Wear eye protection when setting off fireworks (adults only), using pellet or dart or paintball guns, or using heavy cleaning products or chemicals (Source: STACK).