The summer months are often a time that we are quickly reminded of the potentially harmful power of the sun. Early season sunburns are a reminder for the rest of the beach season to keep sunscreen on hand and apply it regularly.
However, when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun, it is important to remember that ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your eyes throughout the year. The winter comes as an especially dangerous time due to the reflection of UV light off of the snow. We have compiled some quick tips to keep in mind when you are outside all year long.
During the summer months, we often try to avoid being out during the mid-day hours when sunburns occur quickly. However, the lower angle of the sun in the mornings, mid-afternoon, fall, spring and winter allow more UV rays to pass directly from the sun into our eyes.
If you wear regular eyeglasses, talk to your eye doctor about getting them treated for UV protection or consider photochromic options. If you just wear sunglasses, don’t skimp on a quality lens. High-end lenses have fewer imperfections than less expensive options. The coating will likely last longer and better help you to be protected from harmful UV rays. Talk to your eye doctor to see which lenses are best for you.
UV rays are reflected from many different angles. This means that it can bounce off of objects and pass into the side of your eyes too. Having a great lens won’t protect you if it doesn’t cover the sides of your eyes too. One of the best options for frames is to select a wraparound type of frame that will give you more coverage and more protection.
The right glasses can do wonders to protect your eyes from the sun, but adding a wide-brimmed hat can further reduce your risk. However, be aware that hats will generally only block the UV rays that are coming from the sun, and you’re still at risk for reflection from water, sun, snow, and sand.
Contacts now come with options to add protection from UV rays. There are two basic types, class I and class II contacts. The class I contacts are better at protecting your eyes from UV light, but you should talk to your doctor to identify the best fit for you and your needs. In addition, many insurance plans cover at least part of the cost of these contacts, so you may be able to reduce your own cost while increasing your protection.
Many patients feel like it can be difficult to identify when they need to take additional precautions for their eyes. As a general rule, anytime that you are applying sunscreen can be a trigger to remember to also protect your eyes. When the UV rays are intense enough to burn your skin, that same energy can cause lasting damage to your eyes and your sight. Many people find that putting their sunscreen, sunglasses, and a large-brimmed hat into the same location helps remind them of all the protections they may need when they plan a day out.
Protecting your eyes doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan that takes tremendous effort to plan and execute. Most of the steps that are included in making sure you care for your eyes is the same that makes for an enjoyable day exploring your surroundings. If you have additional concerns or questions, call to schedule an appointment today.