The sun can be harmful to much more than your skin. The same ultraviolet radiation can damage your eyes. Eye sun damage builds over your lifetime and can ultimately affect your vision. There are several ways to curtail the damage while still enjoying the outdoors. Because sun damage is cumulative, adopting these preventative practices can protect your eyes.
Wear Sunglasses to Prevent Eye Sun Damage
When you are outdoors, sunglasses will be your first line of defense. To prevent sun damage, the glasses should be purchased from a reputable brand and the lenses should be labeled as either “UV400” or “100% UV protection.” Although we often associated darker lenses with greater efficacy, that is not always the case–the most reliable source is the UV protection label. Additionally, you may also want to consider oversized glasses that may offer better protection from the sun than smaller glasses. Some contacts offer UV protection, but they do not cover the entire eye so sunglasses should still be included in your sun safety routine. Finally, you should be similarly treating your sunglasses like your sunscreen. This includes wearing sunglasses during overcast. UV rays travel through gray clouds.
Review Your Medications
In addition to wearing sunglasses outdoors, you should consider reviewing your medication’s side effects. Some medications can make your eyes more vulnerable to UV ray damage. These medications include some antibiotics, birth control, and dermatological treatments containing psoralen. You should review your medications with your doctors and if photosensitivity is a side effect, and take extra precautions for both eye and skin damage.
Use Sunscreen Around the Eyes
Sunscreen formulas have evolved to blend seamlessly onto the face without irritating the eyes or disrupting makeup. When applying your morning face sunscreen, it is important to not forget your under-eye and eyelid area. Your eye area has a thinner skin and can be susceptible to skin cancer. By applying your sunscreen in those areas daily and reapplying evenly every two hours.
Wear a Hat to Prevent Sun Eye Damage
When the shade isn’t readily available, using a hat with a three-inch brim can offer additional sun protection. This is a simple solution that can be kept in your car or purse and thrown on whenever you’re outdoors. Be especially cognizant during the morning to afternoon hours when the sun is most intense.
Schedule Your Eye Exam
By scheduling and attending eye exams, you can maintain your overall eye health. Our team of professionals can evaluate your vision for any potential sun-related damage and its effects. Moreover, besides eye exams, if you spent too much time outdoors and experience sunburned eyes or photokeratitis, our doctors can assess and treat you. Contact us by calling (216) 574-8900 to schedule an appointment with Corrective Eye Center.