Our skin needs protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which is why we all use sunscreen before we go outside. Your eyes deserve the same kind of protection especially during the summer season. In today’s post, the local eye care specialists at Six One Six Vision Center share eye safety tips for summer.
What Are the Effects of UV Rays on the Eyes?
The light that we perceive as natural light is merely a fraction of what comprises light from the sun. Invisible spectra such as infrared and ultraviolet radiation are also part of it. Infrared radiation is what makes sunlight feel hot. UV radiation has bleaching properties that cause fading in fabrics and disinfects surfaces. It also causes damage to skin and eye surface tissues if exposed without protection.
UVA, UVB, and UVC
When looking for products that offer UV protection, you may come across the classifications of UV radiation:
UVA — UVA is close to visible light rays and has the longest, therefore weakest, wavelength. Nevertheless, overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts. UVA rays are typically used on tanning beds.
UVB — UVB has slightly longer wavelengths and has higher energy than UVA. Low-level UVB stimulates the production of melanin, or skin pigment, and helps create a suntan. Overexposure to UVB can cause premature skin aging, and can increase the risk of skin cancer. It is also associated with a number of eye problems, including photokeratitis or “snow blindness”.
UVC — UVC is the most harmful type of UV radiation. Fortunately, the ozone layer virtually blocks all of it
Eye Safety Tips for Summer
Sunlight is especially harsh during the summer season. The following can help make sure that
Check Your Spec’s Specs — Look for sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection”. Ask your optometrist for prescription eyeglasses with the same or similar features.
Use Additional Protection — If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need to wear sunglasses when you go out. All the better if you wear a hat, preferably broad-brimmed ones, when you go out. Look for umbrellas with a white or reflective outer surface for better protection against direct sunlight.
Keep Children Out of Direct Sunlight — Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to UV damage. Keep them in the shade as much as possible, and have them wear sunglasses and hats whenever they are in the sun.
Six One Six Vision Center continues to be open while practicing safe social distancing recommendations. Our office is open by appointment only, so if you need an eye doctor for your eye care needs, give us a call at (208) 514-1858 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in Boise, Idaho, and surrounding communities.