Protecting Your Eyes is as Important as Protecting Your Skin
Summer is in full swing in Southwest Florida, making it the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the beautiful beaches, golf courses, gardens, patios and all the other amazing outdoor venues the sunshine state offers.
But are you protecting yourself from potential risks? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as UV Safety Month, with the goal of spreading the word about how important it is to protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays.
What Is UV Radiation?
Many people don’t realize that UV light is actually a form of radiation. By definition, radiation is the emission of energy from any source. The main source of UV radiation is, of course, the sun, although it can come from man-made sources like tanning beds and even welding torches.
UV light can be classified into three types: UVA, UVB and UVC. The ozone layer is the protective layer in Earth’s stratosphere that blocks all UVC light, but UVB and UVA light pass through it. UVA penetrates deeply into the skin and causes wrinkles. UVB is what causes sunburns. Ouch!
UV radiation is at its highest when and where the sun’s rays are the strongest. Hello, Southwest Florida. This also means that UV levels will be highest around midday on a clear sunny day, even more so during the summer months.
Protect Your Skin AND Your Eyes
We all use sunscreen to protect our skin, but we want to remind you not to forget to protect your eyes as well. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer.
“UV radiation can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens, but many people are unaware of the dangers UV light can pose to their eyes. By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for eye diseases and other issues.”
Michael J. Collins, MD
Let’s Talk Sunglasses
According to the Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying. Let’s change that! It’s an easy way to protect yourself.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection”. Our own licensed optician Mark Schafe would like to add to only select glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays; they could be labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection. Mark has 25 years’ experience and is dedicated to providing patients with the most reliable and personal service available.
Pick Polarized. Polarized lenses eliminate glare from light reflected off water, sand, sidewalks and cars. Whether you’re driving down the highway or walking on the beach, you’ll see more comfortably with a pair of polarized sunglasses.
Consider Color. Gray lenses maintain color saturation and natural contrast in medium to bright sun conditions. They’re perfect for outdoor sports. Amber lenses are excellent all-around lenses that deliver the brightest field of vision. They’re perfect for fishing, driving and everyday activities where high contrast is needed.
Additionally, and especially if you spend a great deal of time outdoors, choose wraparound styles so that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side. And even If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need sunglasses! Come see us at our optical boutique, where Mark can help you find the perfect pair.
Other Ways to Protect Your Eyes
• Wear a hat along with your sunglasses; broad-brimmed hats are best.
• Know that clouds don’t block UV light. The sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds. Sun damage to the eyes can occur at any time of year, not just in summer.
• Be extra careful in UV-intense conditions: Sunlight is strongest mid-day to early afternoon and when reflected off of water, ice or snow.
See The Difference at Collins Vision
By embracing these simple tips, you and your family can enjoy the summer sun safely while also protecting your vision. At Collins Vision, we love eyes! And taking the time to educate our valued family of patients about ways to protect their precious peepers for a lifetime is just one more way we can help you See the Difference!
From comprehensive eye care for the entire family to laser vision correction and modern cataract surgery, we’re here for you. Schedule an appointment today. So many Southwest Floridians have chosen to See the Difference and become a part of the Collins Vision family. We’d love for you to join the family, too.