Summertime for many includes spending more time outdoors. There are some that don’t take a moment to slather on sunscreen or to wear UV protective sunglasses, especially if they are only going outdoors for a brief amount of time. Those brief visits in the sun can add up.
It’s important to know the long-term effects from sun exposure. The sun's UV rays can increase the risk of developing cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer. Another reason to wear sunglasses is to avoid developing ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN). OSSN encompasses a wide and varied spectrum of disease involving abnormal growth of dysplastic squamous epithelial cells on the surface of the eye, from a non-cancerous, abnormal growth of cells to an invasive, cancerous tumor. Too much sun exposure is a big risk factor, but it is also associated with HIV and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
UV rays are a big problem and not enough people wear sunglasses,” says Patricia Whiteside, Practice Administrator at Shofner Vision Center. Even if you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you still need to wear sunglasses.
Everyone’s skin and eyes are at risk from ultraviolet (UV) rays. The same risk applies when using tanning beds, so be sure to protect your eyes from indoor UV light as well. Sunlight reflected off sand and water can cause photokeratitis…so for those that enjoy the beach and hanging poolside should be extra careful. Welders that don’t wear a protective mask may also be at greater risk of developing photokeratitis (aka welder’s flash).
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends to wear sunglasses labeled 100% UV protection. Use only glasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and that are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection.
We also recommend purchasing protective sunglasses for your family at an early age to protect your eyes against ultraviolet exposure. Avoid activities when the sunlight is strongest mid-day to early afternoon. Be sure to look for sunglasses that offer a wrap-around style to prevent UV rays from entering from the side and that are polarized. A polarized lens offers the following advantages over non-polarized lenses: Increases visual comfort. Since your eyes aren't constantly challenged by glare, it is easier to view objects in bright conditions.
Additionally, Just because it’s cloudy, doesn’t mean we are protected. According to the SCF, up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds. We encourage you to take the time to follow these recommendations to help protect your vision not just in the summer…but all year long.
Should you experience any discomfort or changes in your vision please give us a call or schedule an appointment online. We are very passionate about providing the best vision care and want you to see your very best.