As July is UV Safety Month, I thought it would be beneficial to focus on some safety tips for the eyes, which sometimes may be overlooked but can be greatly affected by the sun.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, long-term exposure to UV rays can be linked to many eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Ways to prevent eye damage from ultraviolet radiation:
1) Be aware that rays can be reflected off sand, snow or pavement and can damage your eyes.
2) Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
3) Buy sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. It doesn't matter how dark the lens is or if it's a more expensive brand.
4) Wear swimming goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine (this is just general summer eye protection). Also, remember that bacteria can get under contact lenses and cause an inflamed cornea.
5) Put sunglasses on whenever you're outside.
Link to site and source: http://www.aao.org/aaoesite/eyemd/upload/July.pdf.
More interesting facts to know:
1) UVC rays are the most harmful and are usually blocked by the ozone layer; however, it is being depleted and could let these in, causing more eye and skin damage.
2) HEV rays aren't as harmful as UV rays but can cause retinal damage in some cases.
3) UV rays are worse the closer you get to the equator.
4) UV rays are worse at higher altitudes.
5) UV rays are usually worse from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
5) UV rays are worse when you are surrounded by reflective surfaces.
6) Some medications can increase sensitivity to UV rays.
7) No matter your skin and eye color, UV rays can affect you the same.
8) Wear sunglasses, even in the shade, and during winter (around snow).
9) Even if your contact lenses have protection against UV rays, wear sunglasses to protect the full eye.
Here is the National Weather Service's "Current UV Index Forecast," in case you would like to know how bad the UV rays are in your area: