Most people are aware of the dangerous effects ultraviolet (UV) rays can have on our skin, but few of us realize the danger the sun imposes on our eyes. UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or artificial UV rays, can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea, lens and retina. It can burn the front surface of the eye much like the sun can burn our skin.
UV rays can also increase the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. The damage is cumulative, so the longer your eyes are exposed to UV radiation, the greater the risk of developing eye problems later in life.
The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds and damage the eyes anytime during the year, not just during the summer months. Here are few tips to protect your eyes:
Wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside, especially in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes where UV rays are more intense. This is particularly important for children and teens as they tend to spend more time in the sun than adults and are at greater risk of damaging their eyes.
Neither the color of the lenses nor the price of the glasses matters. Just follow these tips to ensure adequate protection:
Use safety glasses
Whether you are making home repairs, pruning hedges, or working under a car, protect yourself with safety glasses that comply with the standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If you do get something in your eye, flush your eye immediately with a sterile saline solution or water. If pain, blurry vision, redness or irritation persists, see your eye care provider or go to the emergency room. Do not rub the eye as you can further irritate or scratch the eye.
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Protect eyes from summer irritants