Tips for Protecting Your Eyes From Sun Damage

Your eyes connect you to the world around you, a crucial reason to protect them from damage. One of the most common ways you may damage your eyes is through exposure to UV rays. UV rays are a form of radiation from the sun that comes in two forms—UVA and UVB.

UVA rays can damage your macula and retina, affecting your central vision. UVB rays hurt the front of the eye, posing risks to the cornea and the lens. However, you can protect your eyes from sun damage. Here are a few tips you can use.

Do Not Stare at the Sun

You may think you are safe to stare directly at the sun because you have sunglasses on. However, it can still damage your eyes. Gazing at the sun can burn holes in your retina, affecting your central vision. The condition may be rare, but once it occurs, the damage is irreversible.

woman in sunglasses

Practice Smart Sun Strategies

Avoid exposure to very bright sunlight by practicing smart sun strategies. Keep an eye on factors such as cloud cover, reflection, altitude, and time of day. Note that the sun’s radiation is intense at its highest point. That is between ten in the morning and two in the afternoon. Therefore, avoid exposure at these times.

Avoid prolonged exposure in spring, summer, or when you are in areas close to the equator. Winter may seem like a safe season with less UV radiation. However, note that there is a surface reflection on the snow. UV rays bounce off it and into your eyes, so protect them from exposure.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses can help block up to 99 percent of UV rays. However, you need to invest in a good pair of sunglasses to achieve this. Cheap sunglasses may have dark lenses but no UV protection. They may even worsen the situation by causing your pupils to dilate and absorb more UV light than before. It is not worth the risk.

Wear a Wide-brimmed Hat

A wide-brimmed hat blocks half of the UV rays before they hit your eyes. It acts as added protection for your sunglasses. It also protects the skin on your face and neck. Better still, it does not cost much and does not get in the way of a clear vision.

Check Your Medication Labels

Some medications contain ingredients that can make your eyes more vulnerable to UV ray damage. These medications include estrogen pills, birth control, antibiotics, and those containing psoralen for psoriasis treatment. Hence, check the labels to see if they cause photosensitivity.

Do Not Drive Without UV Eye Protection

You may assume that tinted car windows provide the UV protection you need. However, the windshield only provides 96 percent protection, while the side windows provide 71 percent. So, wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes after you buckle up. Sun damage can happen fast and add up over time. Protect yourself whenever you can.

For more information on protection from sun damage, visit Progressive Ophthalmology at our office in Queens, New York. Call (718) 565-2020 to book an appointment today.