Hopefully, you would never venture into the sun without wearing sunscreen and other protective gear, as you know how important it is to protect your skin from sunburn. The same is true when it comes to your eyes. You can cause severe damage to your vision by permitting UV rays to enter.
Instead, you need to be proactive with your preventative measures and ensure that you are keeping your eyes out of the direct sunlight and away from harm. That isn’t to say that you can’t be outside, but you do need to consider your eye health.
To ensure that you are able to enjoy your outdoor activities all year round while still maintaining your health, read on to learn everything you need to know about protecting your eyes from the sun.
Always wear sunglasses
Wearing high-quality sunglasses is the most effective method for protecting your eyes from the sun as they work to protect them from ultraviolet and visible light toxicity. Unfortunately, repeated sun exposure can significantly damage your eyes, so you need to be consistently wearing sunglasses.
Keep in mind that the highest UV radiation exposure is in the morning and mid-afternoon, which continues throughout all four seasons. In fact, UV light is often reflected off of snow, even from glass facades of buildings, so it isn’t just during the summer months that you need to be careful.
In order to ensure that your eyes are fully protected, you need to be wearing sunglasses that block 99% of UV-A and UV-B rays. This type of protection is only available when lenses have been applied with a special chemical coating, making it crucial to check before purchasing any sunglasses.
Don’t be influenced by the price tag; just because a pair of sunglasses is expensive doesn’t mean that it has the necessary UV protection. However, the lenses should be large enough to fully cover the eye so that no UV rays are able to enter through the sides.
Opt for polycarbonate lenses
Generally, your best option is to wear polycarbonate lenses as they filter 100% of UV rays and bright light that can otherwise be detrimental. What’s more, polycarbonate lenses are some of the most shatter-resistant models on the market today, and they are usually thinner than other potential options.
As they are such effective eye protectors, it is recommended that children also wear polycarbonate lenses. The earlier you can get your child to care about their eye health, the better, as studies demonstrate that an individual receives 80 percent of their lifetime exposure to UV rays prior to the age of 18.
Hats are your friend
In addition to your high-quality sunglasses, you should also be wearing a wide-brimmed hat when out in the sun for extended periods. This style of hat not only looks stylish, but it also provides some shade for your eyes and helps to block direct sunlight from hitting them.
That being said, hats aren’t able to protect your eyes from UV rays, so you always want to be pairing them with UV-blocking shades. Luckily, there are plenty of hat options available, so you are guaranteed to find a style, color, and shape that suits you.
Always look for shade
If you are spending a considerable amount of time in the sun, always look for shade that you can retreat to at regular intervals. This is particularly true if you are sitting outside when the sun is exceptionally bright.
Even if you love being in the sunshine, your body (including your eyes) needs regular relief from the sun’s rays and heat. Taking some time to be in the shade will significantly help you to keep your eyes and body safe. Otherwise, you are increasing your risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye surface lesions like Pingueculum and Pterygium due to solar exposure.
Attend regular eye appointments
The most effective way to look after your eyes is to schedule regular eye appointments with a highly qualified professional. During your appointment, your Gulf Eye Center eye doctor will be able to thoroughly check your eyes’ health and alert you to anything that looks troublesome or concerning.
With their knowledge and expertise, they will be able to advise you on what you need to do to improve (or maintain) the health and comfort of your eyes. Even if you don’t think there is anything wrong, it is crucial to attend these appointments to rule out early changes of treatable conditions.
Unfortunately, once your eyes have been damaged, it is often impossible to revert them to how they once were. Therefore, you want to be taking every precaution and safety measure possible to prolong your eyes’ health.
What steps are you taking to ensure that you protect your eyes from the sun? Have you ever considered how damaging the sun can be to your vision? Do you currently have the appropriate sunglasses? Let us know in the comments below.
Dr. Millicent M. Grim, Specialist Ophthalmologist & LASIK Specialist, is the Medical Director of Gulf Eye Center in Dubai. Since 2002, Gulf Eye Center’s highly qualified ophthalmologists and optometrists/ODs have been successfully treating a wide range of eye conditions using advanced techniques. They also provide comprehensive eye care and vision restoration procedures for people of all ages.