UV radiation can negatively impact our eyes. But the good news is that the damage can be prevented. Read on to find out more.
Importance of Protecting Eyes from UV Rays
We don’t usually think about our eyesight or eye protection that often or why we should shield our eyes from dangerous UV radiation. UV exposer, over time, can lead to increase risks of macular degeneration, cataracts and wrinkles or accelerated age-related changes around the eye as well as benign and malignant lesions on and around the eye.
- Macular degeneration has symptoms of distorting our central vision, including loss of central vision, making it challenging to identify people, drive, or read.
- Cataracts develop as a “yellowing or opaqueness” of the lens. This will cause symptoms of an overall haze to your vision and often leads to decrease vision in low light conditions as well an increase in sensitivity to glare.
- Benign lesions such as Pterygium, often known as ‘surfer’s eye,’ is a development of pink, fleshy tissue on the white of the eye that can grow over the cornea. Another more benign and cosmetic type of lesion is a Pinquecula. This lesion is the development of a raised yellow area on the white part of the eye, usually located on either side of the iris at a 3 and 9 o’clock position.
- Malignant skin cancers are also on the list of harmful side effects to UV exposer. Our eyes and eyelids are areas that we need to protect with sunglasses that block 100 percent of harmful UV rays.
- Brightness and glare from the sun cause us to squint which can lead to headaches. Squinting can also lead to wrinkles and an accelerated ageing appearance.
Proper Protection for the Eyes from UV Exposure
Sunglasses are one of the most effective ways to shield your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays. Choose a pair that blocks UVA and UVB radiation at 100 percent. Sun damage to the eyes can develop at any moment, thus sunglasses should be worn all year.
UV radiation exposure can cause irreparable eye damage that can go untreated for years. In fact, most people who have endured this form of quiet, long-term damage only become aware of it when they have acquired a vision-related problem.
Wearing the appropriate shades, or ones that block out at 100 percent of all UV radiation, including UVA, UVB and UVC rays, is a simple and effective strategy to safeguard your ocular health and retain your vision.
Our sunglass of choice is made by Maui Jim. Maui Jim is one of a handful of companies that has earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation for protection of the eyes and skin of surrounding areas. Their lenses are polarized which filters out glare and reflections off of surfaces, including the water, road, snow and dashboard. This leads to less squinting, less strain and less wrinkles. Polarized lenses can also enhance driving safety by eliminating glare and those pesky reflections while operating a vehicle.
If you already wear sunglasses but aren’t sure if they give the appropriate amount of protection, you should invest in a new pair that you can be positive of. Look for bigger lenses or wraparound-style frames when purchasing new sunglasses since both provide more comprehensive coverage for your eyes.
If you wear clear glasses, it is important to have sunglass-level UV protection in them. One way of doing this is to have photo-sensitive changing lenses in them. These are the lenses that change from clear to dark when you go from indoors to out.
Many people prefer to have clear lenses versus the light adaptive lenses. In this case, we recommend lenses manufactured by Zeiss. Zeiss lenses come standard with 100% UV protection which is called Zeiss UVProtect technology. With the use of a UV camera, we can show how clear Zeiss lenses appear as dark sunglasses since they block UV rays completely like a pair of premium sunglasses would.
Eyelid and Skin Protection:
Sunscreen is your skin’s best defense for protection from UV damage. Not only can it provide protection, but a good sunscreen is important in slowing down the visible signs of skin aging. Reading labels is important. It has been reported that it only takes about 26 seconds for lotions to penetrate our skin and enter our bloodstream.
What to look for:
- Broad-Spectrum Protection which means skin protection from both UVA & UVB rays. B is predominantly responsible for burns and cancers while A is responsible for photoaging.
- SPF of 50 or higher. An SPF number indicates how long it would take the suns rays to burn your skin compared to no protection. So, SPF 50 = 50 times longer to exposure before burning.
- Water-resistant. These formulations will protect you longer from sweat, humidity and any swimming during the warmer months. Be sure to reapply if outdoors or swimming for extended periods of time.
Our recommended facial sunscreen is manufactured by Epionce. Their UltraShield SPF 50 and Daily Shileld Tinted SPF 50 have both been adopted by the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation. They are made with natural botanical products that are also safer for your skin and body.
The sun’s rays wreak damage even when it is overcast. In the middle of the day and early afternoon, the sun is at its brightest and UV is at its highest. Remember that the sun’s rays are stronger when reflected off water, ice, or snow at higher elevations. So, while you’re swimming, skiing, boating or just being outside, be sure you’re properly covered.
To protect your eyes from damaging UV rays, you don’t have to forgo going outside. You may protect your eyes from bad impacts by wearing the proper eyeglass lenses or sunglasses and making behavioral modifications. Remember to use facial sunscreens with an SPF 50 or higher. Do not forget that headwear such as a wide brimmed hat or environmental tools such as a sunshade or umbrella can all be helpful in protecting your face and body from the damages of UV rays.
Take these easy precautions to avoid solar damage before it occurs. Consult Eye 2 Eye Vision Center, your current eyecare professional or physician if you are having difficulties with your eyes or eyelids.
Enjoy the beautiful sun and summer but be smart about it.
Call or text Eye 2 Eye Vision Center (757) 259-2300 if you have questions about ways to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Sponsored content by
Maui Jim. Eye Health: The Importance of Protecting Your Eyes. https://www.mauijim.com/US/en_US/eyehealth
Epionce. Self Care with Sunscreen. Guest Contributor: Sarah Ban, April 30, 2021; https://www.epionce.com/sunscreen-benefits-defense-against-skincancer-skinaging/
Zeiss. Sunglass-level UV protection in clear lenses. ZEISS Lenses with UVProtect Technology; https://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/us/eyeglass-lenses-from-zeiss/full-uv-protection-in-all-clear-lenses.html
Save Our Skin. https://www.saveourskin.com.au/blogs/news/36633089-26-seconds-is-all-it-takes-for-the-ingredients-in-your-personal-care-products-to-enter-your-bloodstream#:~:text=It%20happens%20quickly%20too.,healthy%20and%20enhanced%20our%20wellbeing.