Public service announcements have helped our society become wonderfully aware of the importance of protecting skin from the sun, but we can’t forget about eye protection either. Whether the air is chilly or hot, the sun can still cause damage to the eyes, and chances are you won’t realize quite how much you cherish your vision until it’s compromised. Next time you step outside or hop into your car, remember these eye protection tips.
Understanding the Dangers of the Sun
Ultraviolet light comes in two dangerous forms categorized as UVA and UVB rays. These types of light are so dangerous because they are potent but invisible. With enough exposure, UVA and UVB light can trigger macular degeneration, eyelid cancer, and cataracts. High Energy Visible Light (HEV light), is another danger to your eyesight. This is the light that you can see. It will damage the retina over time, which in turn causes macular degeneration as well.
Every single person who walks this earth is at risk of eye damage from the sun, but those with light skin, light eyes, and older age are at even greater risk. This is because the lens and cornea inside the eye cannot filter UV rays as effectively over time or with less protection.
How to Defend Yourself
First and foremost, protect your eyes by investing in a few pairs of sunglasses that are proven to block UVA and UVB rays. The bigger, the better, since UV rays can target the delicate skin around your eyes as well. It’s also important to note that UV rays break through clouds on overcast days, so you want to wear your sunglasses regardless of the weather. As long as the glasses meet ANSI or ISO standards, you will still be able to see traffic signals and other colors clearly.
Reading the label on your sunglasses is as important as reading the label on a medication. So many cheap imitation glasses are available that you need to make sure you are spending your money on the glasses that will truly keep your eyes safe. Look for glasses that block 100 percent of UVA, UVB, and HEV light. You can also wear a hat with a brim, apply natural sunscreen, and stay in the shade as much as possible. Your vision will thank you later!