June 27 is National Sunglasses Day, which serves as a great reminder of the importance of protecting yourself from summer eye damage. The sun emits powerful UV rays that can cause severe damage to our eyes when exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
Some of the risks associated with prolonged sun exposure to our eyes can include cataracts, corneal damage, and skin cancer (all of which can lead to vision loss.) These risks only intensify during the summer months when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest and most long-lasting. Keep reading to learn a few eye safety tips to protect your eyes from sun damage this summer.
Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
Wearing eye protection in the form of sunglasses is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Aside from being a trendy accessory, sunglasses help block the sun’s rays from directly penetrating your eyes.
Wear a hat
Although hats don’t provide direct protection to your eyes like sunglasses, they are another great option, as they provide adequate protection for outdoor activities. Broad-brimmed hats are especially helpful for reducing exposure since they offer more coverage around your face.
Whenever you find yourself outside during the day, try to stay in the shade as much as possible and limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight to protect your eyes and skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Choosing the Best Lenses for UV Protection
Check the UV protection rating
Not all sunglasses are created equal regarding UV ray protection. Sunglasses can be rated based on their level of UV protection and lenses, with a rating of UV 400 providing the highest level of UV protection. A rating of UV 400 can block 99% to 100% of the sun’s UV rays. Most eyewear brands include the UV protection rating on their label, so be sure to always look for this information when shopping for sunglasses.
Invest in oversized sunglasses
Wearing protective oversized sunglasses is another great option to protect your eyes from sun damage. Sunglasses with large lenses, wrap-around frames, and thick rims provide extensive coverage around the eye area, limiting the sun’s ability to reach your eyes. Plus, there are plenty of fashionable styles to choose from in the eyewear market.
Don’t judge a pair of glasses based on lens color (or price!)
Many people assume that sunglasses with darker lenses and higher prices inherently have better levels of sun protection. However, lens color and price have virtually no effect on sunglasses’ level of UV protection. UV protection sunglasses come in many shades and prices, but the only way of knowing their true protection level is by checking their label.
When to Wear Sunglasses
Anytime you’re outside during the day
The American Optometric Association recommends wearing sunglasses anytime you’re outside during the day, no matter what the clock says. Any amount of UV exposure from the sun, even later in the day, can still cause damage. It’s especially crucial to wear sunglasses between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
While driving and on cloudy days
It’s also important to wear sunglasses when driving because car windows may not always protect from UV rays. Plus, sunglasses can reduce glare, making for a safer driving experience. Additionally, it’s essential to wear sunglasses even when the sun isn’t shining. UV light is powerful, and can still penetrate through cloud cover and cause damage.
During childhood and teenage years
It’s vital for kids and teens to prioritize vision care because their developing eyes are more susceptible to UV light damage. It’s also important to decrease the amount of sun damage to the eyes as early in life as possible, because its risks can intensify as kids and teens grow older.
Moderate amounts of sunlight exposure can benefit the body in numerous ways. However, it’s crucial to always take action to protect your eyes against the sun. Prolonged sunlight exposure can produce many harmful effects on your eyes, causing vision problems down the road. It’s also important to remember that although your eyes are most susceptible to sun damage during summertime, practicing eye health year-round is crucial.
This summer, give your patients the eye care and protection they deserve. With labels like Cruz and Jimmy Crystal, A&A Optical has frame styles to protect every kind of patient during the sunnier months. Bring some sunshine into your practice today by placing an order with A&A Optical. Visit our collections page to learn more.