Sun Protection – Remember Your Eyes

Published: April 8, 2021

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While being in natural light is healthy for a number of reasons, sunlight can also be damaging to the eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that UV radiation can damage the eye’s surface tissues, the cornea and the lens.(1) Eye diseases can take years to develop, but others, like a growth in the eye called pterygium, can affect teenagers and those in the 20s. People who spend long hours in the midday sun are at highest risk. Photokeratitis or “snow blindness” can develop after exposure to reflections of UV light off snow, sand, or water.(1)

A leading eye institute offers these protection tips:

  • Always wear UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses when outdoors or exposed to natural night
  • Do not use sunlamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths
  • Wear UV-blocking goggles when surfing, swimming, or snowboarding
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat when outdoors
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight by staying in the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm (2)

Children need eye protection, as well. “Children are at special risk from the harmful effects of UV rays, since their eyes do not have the same ability as adults to protect from UV radiation,” states Prevent Blindness, an organization dedicated to research and promoting eye health.(3) Parents should choose only sunglasses clearly labeled that they block 100% UV rays. They need to fit the child well and have lenses that are impact resistant.(3)

 


 

(1) Tubert, D., reviewed by Medoza, O. M.D., American Academy of Ophthalmology, The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes, https://www.aao.org
(2) USC Roski Eye Institute, What Toll is the Sun Taking on Your Eyes, https://eye.keckmedicine.org(3) Prevent Blindness, Your Sight: Protect Your Eyes From The Sun, https://preventblindness.org