We all use sunscreen to protect our skin during the warmer months, but don't forget to protect your eyes as well. Summertime means more time spent outdoors, and studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer. The same risk applies when using tanning beds, so be sure to protect your eyes from indoor UV light as well.
UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye's surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens," said Michael Kutryb, MD, an ophthalmologist in Edgewater, Fla., and clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the dangers UV light can pose. By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for potentially blinding eye diseases and tumors." It is important to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to protect your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure.
Follow these tips to protect your eyes from the sun:
· Select sunglasses that block UV rays. Don't be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the price tag or how dark the sunglass lenses are.
· Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
· Choose wraparound styles. Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun's rays can't enter from the side.
· Wear a hat in addition to your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed styles provide the best protection for your eyes.
· Don't rely on contact lenses. Even if your lenses have UV protection, remember to wear your sunglasses, too.
· Don't be fooled by clouds: the sun's rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime—so be sure to wear sunglasses whenever you're outside.
· Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, which is damage to the eye's retina from solar radiation.
· Take special care at peak sun times: It's best to avoid exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's UV rays are the strongest, but if you must be outdoors it's especially important to shield your eyes with a hat and sunglasses.
· Don't forget the kids and older family members: everyone is at risk, including children and senior citizens. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses.
We love the Hibiscus Coast, the beaches, the community feel and the wide variety of things to do and places to go and this isn't diminishing as the Coast grows, although we are finding there are rather too many sets of traffic lights than the old days!