In a few short months, millions of people will venture outside to enjoy warm summer days. You probably agree that there’s nothing like warm weather and sunny skies. Especially after staying couped up all winter, it’s rejuvenating.
However, there’s another side to summer in the form of ultraviolet rays. Although invisible, these rays contain powerful energy generated by the sun. It is essential to protect your skin and your eyes when spending time outdoors.
Of the three types of UV radiation, UVA, UVB, and UVC, only the last two can damage the eyes. That’s because the ozone layer only blocks UVA. That means any exposure to UVB and UVC can adversely affect your eye health and vision. Some manmade sources also produce harmful UV rays. Those include welding machines, lasers, and both tanning beds and booths.
Short-term exposure to UV radiation without any protection could lead to Photokeratitis. As inflammation of the cornea, it produces sunburn-like symptoms. However, exposure impacts the eyes.
In comparison, long-term exposure to UV rays can cause even more serious problems, some irreversible. That includes small periods of exposure spread out over time. Two risks include the development of cataracts and permanent damage to the retina.
With so many potential risks from both short- and long-term UV radiation exposure, you want to do everything possible to protect your eyes. Here are some excellent ways to accomplish that.
Even if you go outside for 10 minutes, wear sunglasses. Invest in a pair that blocks out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation, as well as a minimum of 75% visible light. If you spend a great deal of time outside, opt for wraparound sunglasses.
No matter how tempting, don’t look at the sun. Even more importantly, never look at the sun through binoculars. Along with a sunburned retina, this can cause permanent damage to the macula, which can lead to macular degeneration.
Whether you wear glasses or contacts, opt for those designed to block UV radiation. With a unique protective coating, this eyewear works great to protect the eyes.
Hats, caps and visors are another shield of protection for your face and head. Not only will it protect your eyes from harmful UV rays but also your skin.
To reduce the risk of damaging your eyes, make wise decisions. As an example, stay out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Not only is the sun the hottest during that timeframe, but it’s also when UV rays are at their strongest.
In addition, UV rays are stronger in the spring and summer, close to the equator, and high in altitude. One other thing, don’t let the clouds fool you. They might block out the sun, but they don’t block out UV radiation.
If you’re worried about potential damage to your eyes, visit Eye Carumba Optometry in San Francisco, California. Call 415-360-6900 to discuss any questions with our team of experts or to schedule your eye exam today.