During the long, hot weeks of July, many of us take a break from the everyday and hit the outdoors for summer vacation. Whether you are planning a trip to the beach, the amusement park, or just to the park around the corner, you and your family will probably be out in the sun. This means protection from UV radiation is a necessity!
Your first notion will probably be to grab the sunscreen, since the heat from the sun is too intense to ignore. What many people do not realize is that it is just as important to grab a pair of sunglasses, too. Your skin is not the only part of your body that is at risk of burning. Did you know your eyes could burn, too? Tanning beds, UV lamps, and even sunlight reflecting off of light or mirror-like surfaces (like sidewalks, windows, or water) can cause a condition called photokeratitis. It is more commonly known as snow blindness, but don’t let the name fool you. There is no snow required!
Long term, unprotected exposure to UV rays can also cause or exacerbate harmful eye conditions such as cataracts.
In order to stay protected, it’s important to buy a pair of sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Most sunglass manufacturers, regardless of style or price, now offer total UV protection, but make sure it is stated clearly on the packaging. If you’re not sure, select a different pair.
UV safety starts with you. Whether you wear eyeglasses, contacts, or simply need something reliable, contact an optometrist – such as the one at Raleigh Eye Center – to learn more about what types of sunglasses are best for you. Have fun this summer and protect those eyes!