Long summer days can make everyone, from kids to adults, spend more time outside soaking up the sun. July was UV Safety Month, and every year, health professionals raise awareness about the dangers that the sun’s rays can pose. Even though July is over, ultraviolet radiation can still cause painful skin damage, like sunburn, and lead to strain and eye disease. As summer comes to an end, make sure you know the risks associated with prolonged exposure to the sun.
What Eye Diseases Does UV Exposure Cause?
With short-term damage, sun exposure may cause photokeratitis, a sunburn of the eye. This can cause your eyes to burn, itch, and be overly sensitive to bright light. In the long term, it increases the risk of eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, both of which lead to vision loss if not properly managed. Prolonged sun exposure is also linked to eye cancer. If you begin to notice consistently blurry vision, especially during the summer months, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Wear a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, and invest in sunglasses that block UV rays from reaching the eyes. Look for glasses that are marked with 100% UV protection; they should have a small sticker specifying this. Be aware that just because lenses are dark or polarized doesn't mean they offer better protection!
Opt for larger lenses that cover the delicate skin near the eyes as well, as it’s possible to develop a melanoma on the eyelids. If you fail to put sunscreen on your face, this leaves the area around the eyes vulnerable to significant damage. Wraparound models are ideal because they also keep rays from entering from the sides of the face. Finally, keep in mind that sunglasses protection is even needed on overcast days. You are less likely to protect yourself on days where the sun isn’t bright and visible. UV rays can pierce through clouds, causing significant damage because you aren’t directly noticing the effects of the sun.
If you do develop a UV-related eye disease, trust Tri State Ophthalmology of Ashland, KY, to help. Their services include cataract surgery as well as treatment of dry eye syndrome, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease. This state-of-the-art vision center has been in business since 1963, providing patients with compassionate and understanding guidance for all kinds of ocular problems. Learn more about their physicians online and schedule an appointment by calling (606) 324-2451.