Keep an EYE on UV Safety in July
While everyone is at risk for eye damage and potential vision loss from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, people who work or play in the sun for extended amounts of time face the greatest risk. Individuals who are have had cataract surgery or have other retina disorders, or those who take medications such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics or tranquilizers that increase the eye's sensitivity light are also at higher risk for eye damage.
Simple Steps to Protect Your Eyes
Wear a broad-brimmed hat or cap.
Choose sunglasses with labels clearly stating the sunglasses block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
Wrap-around sunglasses with large lenses are best to block UV rays from the sides and shield the eyes from most angles.
Make sure sunglasses fit well and are not damaged.
Wear sunglasses even on cloudy days because the sun's rays can pass through the clouds.
Protect your eyes particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV light is more intense.
Damaging UV rays radiate directly from the sun, but they also reflect off the ground, water, snow and other bright surfaces. Long-term exposure to UV rays can cause cataracts, macular degeneration or skin cancer around the eyelids. You can protect your eyes when working or playing outside by using eyewear—prescription and non-prescription—that absorbs both UVA and UVB rays and by wearing a broad-brimmed hat or cap, which can reduce the amount of UV rays that reach the eyes by 50 percent.
"Sunglasses should be used by everyone to protect their eyes from UV damage and help prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, and ocular melanoma. Appropriate sunglasses should provide broad-spectrum protection and block at least 99 percent of the UV rays," says William E. Freeman, MD, dermatalogist and member of Houston Healthcare's medical staff.
A good pair of sunglasses should reduce glare, filter out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, protect your eyes, be comfortable to wear, and not distort colors. Wrap-around styles provide the best eye protection. You should wear sunglasses with a darker tint to block more light when at the beach or on the ski slopes where reflected UV rays are brightest. Also, only buy sunglasses that are clearly labeled with the amount of UV radiation blocked.