- Bathing Suit, check.
- Flip Flops, check.
- Towel, check.
- Sunscreen, check.
- Water bottle, check.
Ready to go? Ye— wait aren’t you forgetting something???
Before you head out to enjoy the full effects of the summer sun, don’t forget to protect your eyes. The same UV rays that damage our skin also harms our eyes.
July is UV Safety Awareness Month
This year, Prevent Blindness America (herein Prevent Blindness), is reminding us to protect our eyes and save our vision. As someone with less than perfect vision, understanding how the sun may damage my eyes is important to me.
UV Rays and Your Eyes
Both types of UV rays, UV-A and UV-B, help cause eye problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
UV-A rays cause damage to our central vision by affecting the macula. The macula is part of the retina at the back of the eye. Whereas, UV-B rays cause damage to the cornea and lens at the front of the eye. Since, it is the front of the eye which absorbs the most UV-B rays, “…[UV-B rays] may cause even more damage to your eyes than UV-A rays,” according to Prevent Blindness.
Protecting Your Eyes
While there are some specially formulated creams specific for the delicate skin around our eyes, we should still wear proper eyewear and hats. Hats that are wide brimmed and caps with dark under bills are best.
Why the dark under bill? The sun’s rays are not only direct but also reflect off water, sand, the ground and other bright sources. Wearing a cap with a dark under bill will help absorb the reflected rays and reduce glare.
Also choose to wear glasses, whether prescription or non-prescription with a UV-blocking material. For those who spend much of their time outdoors, the American Optometric Association recommends a wrap around frame. See their shopping guide for sunglasses.
Bathing suit, flip flops, towel, sunscreen, water bottle — checkcheckcheck.
Sunglasses and hat? Check.
Now you’re ready to go!