While the sun can be a source of some great health benefits, it can also have a negative impact on our eyes from its ultra-violet rays. Most people know the damage that the sun can have on our skin, but few consider the harm that the sun can inflict on our eyes.
How the Sun Can Harm Your Eyes
The sun actually emits three types of UV rays: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C radiation. UV-A and UV-B are the types that can cause significant harm to your eyes. These rays can cause both short-term and long-term effects such as the following:
Photokeratitis: A short-term effect of harmful UV rays, photokeratitis is similar to sunburn on our skin, except it affects the eye. Photokeratitis can be incredibly painful and symptoms include red and watery eyes and/or extreme irritation of the eyes.
Macular Degeneration: Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in American adults who are age 65 and older.
Cataracts: Cataracts are another long-term effect of UV rays and are identified by the clouding of the lens in the eye. Cataracts may require surgery and can be expensive to treat.
How to Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
Because of the adverse effects UV rays can have on our eyes, protecting them properly is essential. Luckily, there are plenty of options that you have to keep them protected from the sun.
Invest in Quality Sunglasses: An easy way to protect your eyes from the sun is to invest in quality sunglasses, such as these Nike Rabid Black Sunglasses or these Nike Agility Matte Gunmetal Sunglasses. These sunglasses provide 100 percent protection from both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat: Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can help protect your eyes and your face as well, although it is recommended only if you are not being active outside and 360 degree coverage is not an issue. Choose a hat with at least a three-inch brim around for the best protection.
Limit Outdoor Exposure During Peak Times: From 10 AM to 4 PM, the sun is highest in the sky and produces greater levels of UV radiation. Find shady areas during these times or try to limit your outdoor time during this period.
Why It’s Important to Protect Your Eyes
There is no doubt that you should be investing in protective eyewear at all stages of your life, but shielding your eyes from UV rays as a child and a teenager is critical. Children are typically out in the sun much more than adults and their eyes are much more susceptible to UV ray damage than adults. Spending so much time in the sun early in life can lead to major eye problems down the road, so it is important to invest in protective eyewear as early as possible. No matter where you are in life, protecting your eyes from UV rays will help keep your eyes healthy and reduce your risk of developing serious eye problems down the road.