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Five Tips from Ophthalmologists That Will Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage 7/12/2017

Five tips from Ophthalmologists that
will protect your eyes from Sun Damage

 

Ultraviolet or UV rays are a part of solar light and according to the American Cancer Association are the main cause of skin cancer. The main source of UV rays is the sun. Just as it is important to protect our skin against the damaging effects caused by long periods of time under the sun, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that we protect our eyes, our most important sense organs, from the damaging effects of UV rays.

UV Rays are related to several vision diseases and conditions; if we can protect our eyes from their damaging effects, we can delay or avoid the emergence of these diseases and, above all, have better visual health. One of these conditions is cataracts, which is a very common medical ailment that eventually appears in every one of us as part of the natural aging process of our bodies. However, the effect of the UV rays is one of the factors that can lead to cataracts appearing earlier in people’s lives.

There are other eye diseases that have been linked to prolonged, unprotected exposure to UV rays such as pterygium, which is a small and thin formation of new, fibrous tissue, a “fleshiness” that appears in the sclera (the white part of our eye) that causes discomforts such as redness, a sensation of strange objects in our eye, and even the diminishing quality of our vision.

We would like to share with you a link from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to help you take care of your vision from UV rays. 

The days are longer, the sun is hotter, the beach beckons and out comes the sunscreen. But summer revelers looking forward to sizzling hot fun in the sun shouldn’t overlook their eyes when it comes to protecting themselves from damaging ultraviolet rays, warns CODET Vision Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

In support of UV Safety Month in July, the CODET Vision Institute joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in sharing information on how to keep eyes safe from sun damage. Excess sun exposure can put people at risk of serious short-term and long-term eye problems. If eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without protection, UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours. Long-term sun exposure has also been linked to an increased risk of cataracts, cancer and growths on or near the eye.

Here are five things people can do to cut their risk of eye damage from the sun:

 

• Wear the right sunglasses – Look for those labeled “UV400” or “100 percent UV protection” when buying sunglasses. Less costly sunglasses with this label can be just as effective as the expensive kind. Darkness or color doesn’t indicate strength of UV protection. UV rays can go through clouds, so wear sunglasses even on overcast days. And while contacts may offer some benefit, they cannot protect the entire eye area from burning rays.

• Don’t stare at the sun – Sun worshippers take note: 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. This condition is called solar retinopathy. While rare, the damage is irreversible. 

• Check your medication labels – One in three adults uses medication that could make the eyes more vulnerable to UV ray damage, according to a sun safety survey by the Academy. 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. If so, make sure to protect your skin and eyes or avoid sun exposure when possible.

• Put a lid on it – In addition to shades, consider wearing a hat with broad brim. They have been shown to significantly cut exposure to harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunscreen! 

• Don’t drive without UV eye protection – Don’t assume that car windows are protecting you from UV light. A recent study found that side windows blocked only 71 percent of rays, compared to 96 percent in the windshield. Only 14 percent of side windows provided a high enough level of protection, the researchers found. So when you buckle up, make sure you are wearing glasses or sunglasses with the right UV protection.

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