Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.
We all use sunscreen to protect our skin, but don’t forget to protect your eyes as well. Summertime means more time spent outdoors, and studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer. The same risk applies when using tanning beds, so be sure to protect your eyes from indoor UV light as well. Sunlight reflected off sand and water can cause photokeratitis, the condition responsible for snow blindness, but beach and pool-goers need to be aware as well.
It is important to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to protect your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure. According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying. The good news is that you can easily protect yourself. Here are some helpful tips to fallow:
- Wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection”: Use only glasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and that are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection.
- Choose wraparound styles so that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
- If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need sunglasses.
- Wear a hat: In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-rimmed hat to protect your eyes.
- Don’t rely on contact lenses: Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, remember your sunglasses.
- Don’t be fooled by clouds: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in summertime.
- Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever outside and it’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.
- Never look directly at the sun: Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to damage to the retina.
- Don’t forget the kids: everyone is at risk, including children. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses.