While we all know that UV rays can damage eyes, few people realize the extent to which UV rays are present in daily activities. It is easy to neglect proper eye safety without realizing you are doing so. Though it is typical for people to use sunglasses when brightness outdoors becomes overwhelming, it’s important to know the hidden UV risks, as well as other forms of UV protection that can help keep your eyes healthy.
How UV Rays Damage Eyes
Summer is a particularly dangerous time for eye health as UV rays are stronger during this season. Since people spend a lot of time outdoors, traveling in cars, and sitting by windows without complete UV protection, we have much more exposure to UV rays than the majority of us may realize. Additionally, because so many people are unaware of when they are sustaining eye damage, they are then unable to adequately protect themselves.
UV rays are capable of bouncing off certain substances like water, sand, or grass, causing damage to the eyes that goes largely undetected. In addition, one form of UV rays, called UVA rays, are capable of reaching you even when you aren’t outside, since they are able to penetrate side windows in cars and most windows in homes.
UV damage has been linked to many eye health concerns. Some rays cause growths on the eye’s surface, some cause an increased risk of cataracts, and others may cause macular degeneration.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Eyes
The following are some measures you can take to protect yourself and others.
• Wear sunglasses that block UV rays – This includes wearing sunglasses in pools or during walks on the beach, since UV rays reflect off water and sand.
• Be aware of the UV index – Cut back on time spent outdoors or without protection during high periods of UV radiation.
• Stay in the shade and wear a hat – If you cannot avoid being outside, block excessive exposure to UV rays by staying in the shade or wearing a hat.
• Consider UV blocking films – For indoor use, cling film added to your house windows essentially eliminates UV radiation inside.
• Remember that children need more UV protection – Children have clearer and more vulnerable lenses than adults, therefore they require more protection to stay safe. Equip them with sunglasses, hats, and avoid too much sun exposure.
Remaining educated about the hazards of UV rays and keeping yourself safe is crucial not only during summer, but during every season. If you have questions, have sustained UV damage, or want to schedule an appointment for lifetime eye health, please call us at (518) 475-1515. Our friendly staff is happy to help you keep yourself and your family safe yearlong!