We all know that too much sun can have damaging and sometimes permanent effects to our skin. And we all know that using high-SPF sunscreen, finding regular shade and limiting our exposure to direct sunlight will protect our skin from those damaging effects. However, how much do you know about the dangers of UV light on your eyes? Sure, buying a cheap pair of sunglasses at the gas station on your way to the beach might seem like a cheap and easy way to protect your eyes; but not all sunglasses are created equal. Not using proper protection for your eyes makes you more likely to develop cataracts, macular degeneration, and intraocular melanoma–all of which can permanently damage your eyesight, and possibly be life threatening. Finding the right pair of sunglasses should be just as important as picking out your new swimsuit.
1.) Check Your UV Protection– Not all sunglasses have the same amount of UV protection. In fact, some lenses favor fashion over protection. Avoid glasses with lenses tinted a wild color like blue or yellow. More than likely, those lenses aren’t offering the same protection a polarized or UV-protective lens offers. A good pair of sunglasses will block almost all dangerous UV rays. so check the label before you buy, and see just how much protection you’re buying.
2.) Protect the Skin Around Your Eyes– Making sure your sun glasses cover a wide area of your face not only protects the skin around your eyes from premature wrinkles, sunburn or melanoma, it also protects your peripheral vision from any sunlight that might leak in on the sides.
3.) Wear a Hat– Wearing a hat with a brim of at least 3-inches can block almost half of all damaging UV-B rays from reach your eyes. A wide-brimmed hat or baseball hat has just the right amount of reach to keep your eyes protected when the sun is directly overhead.
4.) Protect Yourself All the Time– Just because you’ll only be outside for a few minutes, it isn’t an excuse to forgo the proper protection. Even five minutes of harsh sunlight can have damaging effects, especially if you are constantly transitioning from shade to full sun. Always take your sunglasses with you to keep you protected from the outdoor odd jobs.
5.) Wear Sunglasses Over Your Contacts– Some contact lenses offer UV protection, but the level of protection they provide won’t suffice for long, continuous exposure to direct sun. Also, your contacts only cover part of your eye. Sunglasses provide complete coverage of your eyes, eyelids, and the skin around your eyes.
There are plenty of tips and tools for protecting your skin, but we often take for granted that our eyes require the same attention. Following these simple tips will help you enjoy many more sunny summer days with the clarity and healthy eyesight you deserve.