By now, you are aware of how important it is to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But did you know that your eyes are also at risk of sun damage? Research shows that long-term sun exposure increases the risk of several eye problems and conditions, including cataracts, macular degeneration, surfer’s eye (pterygium) and photokeratitis (“sunburn” of the eye). Long-term exposure to the sun can also increase the risk of intraocular cancer (cancer inside the eye) and eyelid skin cancer.
July is UV Safety Month, a campaign designed to raise awareness on the dangers of UV damage. The team at Mack Eye Center, comprised of board certified eye doctors in Hoffman Estates, shares tips on how you can protect your eyes.
Always Wear Sunglasses Whenever Outdoors
Wearing sunglasses is one of the best ways to safeguard your eyes from UV damage. Look for sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection or are labeled “UV400.” Wraparound sunglasses with large frames offer the most protection as they block the sun from reaching your eyes from the side. Because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds, wearing sunglasses year round is a must.
Certain Medications Cause Photosensitivity
Certain medications cause photosensitivity (i.e., they make your eyes more susceptible to UV damage). Check the labels on your medications and if this applies to any of your medications, be extra diligent about sun protection.
Never Stare Directly at the Sun
This tip may sound like common sense but it bears repeating. Staring directly at the sun can cause irreversible damage to the eye’s retina.
Protect the Skin Around Your Eyes
Because the skin around your eyes is also susceptible to UV damage, it’s important to not ignore it when applying sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 protects the skin around the eyes from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are responsible for premature wrinkling while UVB rays increase the risk of sunburns and eyelid skin cancer. Be sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. For extra protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your eyes from the sun.
Contact Mack Eye Center
For more information on how to protect your eyes from the sun, speak to a member of the trusted team at Mack Eye Center. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.