UV Protection – Sun Safety Tips
As summer days get longer, everyone looks forward to sizzling hot fun in the sun! Giliberti Eye and Laser Center and the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants everyone to remember their eyes when it comes to protecting themselves from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays! In addition to using sunscreen on your body, take the time to also protect your peepers!
Here are five tips, from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, that you can do to cut the risk of eye damage from the sun:
- Wear the right sunglasses. Look for those labeled “UV400” or “100% UV protection” when buying sunglasses. Less costly sunglasses with this label can be just as effective as the expensive kind. Take note that darkness or color doesn’t indicate strength of UV protection! Don’t forget to wear sunglasses on overcast days, as UV rays can go through clouds. And while contacts may offer some benefit, they cannot protect the entire eye area from burning rays.
- Wear a hat. In addition to shades, consider wearing a hat with broad brim. They have been shown to significantly cut exposure to harmful rays. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Don’t stare at the sun. Directly gazing at the sun can burn holes in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells in the back of the eye needed for central vision. While this condition, called solar retinopathy, may be rare, the damage is irreversible.
- Check your medication labels. According to a sun safety survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one in three adults use medications that could make the eyes more vulnerable to UV ray damage. These include certain antibiotics, birth control and estrogen pills, and psoriasis treatments containing psoralen. Check the labels on your prescriptions to see if they cause photosensitivity, and if so, make sure to protect your skin and eyes or avoid sun exposure when possible!
- Don’t drive without UV protection. Don’t assume that car windows are protecting you from UV light. A recent study found that side windows blocked only 71% of rays, compared to 96% in the windshield. The researchers found that only 14% of side windows provided a high enough level of protection. So when you buckle up, make sure you are wearing glasses or sunglasses with the right UV protection, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Check out our UV Safety Pinterest Board for more helpful information!