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5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes From The Sun

By John Hornsby , M.D. - Vision Center South

Your eyes play a considerable role in bringing the world around you into focus. Your eyes give you the visual perception of your surroundings, which would be impossible without light.

While light is vital for sight, some types of light, such as ultraviolet (UV) light, can significantly damage your eyes. There are several ways UV light exposure can negatively impact your eyes and vision. Over time, sun exposure can result in severe eye conditions, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Are you looking for easy ways to guard your eyes against harmful UV rays? July is National UV Safety Month.

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Follow these tips to better protect you and your family’s eyes from the sun:

Wear the Right Pair of Sunglasses

Wearing the right sunglasses is an excellent defense against the harsh sunlight. The most important thing to consider when choosing sunglasses is an indicator UV400 label that indicates they block 99-100 percent of UV rays. Bigger frames are better. Choose oversized and wraparound-style sunglasses that provide more coverage and help reduce UV light.

Avoid Staring at the Sun

Looking at the sun directly for an extended period can cause too much UV light to flood your retina. This condition is called solar retinopathy, marked by sun-related damage to the macula, the retina’s most sensitive part. Essentially, solar retinopathy is a retina burn, which can lead to severe, permanent damage to your vision, and worse, legal blindness.

Wear a Broad-Brimmed Hat Outdoors

Consider wearing a hat with at least a three-inch brim. Choose ones without holes or made with tightly woven fabric. This way, you can protect the top of your head and face. This kind of hat can help block as much as half of all UV light from your eyes and eyelids. Additionally, seek shade whenever possible. This is especially crucial between 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. when the sun is typically most intense.

Check Your Drug Labels

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one-in-three adults use medicine that could potentially make their eyes prone to UV ray damage, including certain antibiotics and birth control pills to name a few. Examine prescription labels to check if they cause photosensitivity. If so, shield your eyes and skin to avoid sun exposure.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Did you know that your eyes are especially susceptible to UV damage from using tanning beds? Studies show UV radiation exposure to the eyes can reach up to 100 times greater in a tanning bed than from the sun. According to the Health Physics Society, merely closing your eyes or wearing sunglasses won’t be enough to prevent damage.

John Hornsby
Author: John Hornsby

Dr. John Hornsby received his Bachelor of Natural Science and Mathematics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1981 and graduated from the UAB School of Optometry in 1985. Dr. Hornsby practiced in Geneva, Alabama for 24 years before joining the Denney Vision team in 2014. Denney Vision has recently been rebranded as Vision Center South, with 2 locations in Dothan, AL; locations in Enterprise, Brewton and Wetumpka, AL; as well as in Marianna, FL. He and his wife of over 30 years, Lea have 2 daughters and are members of Covenant United Methodist Church. Dr. Hornsby likes playing his alto saxophone with the Dothan Moonlighters, and spends free time hunting and enjoying outdoor activities.

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Summer Eye Protection

by John Hornsby time to read: 3 min