July – UV Safety Month and Your Eyes

You’ve probably already heard it before, you need to protect your body from the dangerous rays of the sun.  This isn’t just to prevent sunburn but skin cancer as well as other eye issues. There are two types of sun rays, UVA and UV B but both have their own ways of breaking down the body and causing harm.  This is why it is important to wear sunblock as well as eye protection and even a hat is a good idea. The more protection you can get from the sun’s rays the better.

Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays.  These are relatively inexpensive but worth every penny. Exposure to UV rays can cause a number of eye issues such as cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal sunburn, skin cancer of the eyelid and pterygium.  The longer you expose yourself to the harmful UV’s the higher your risk. If you work in the sun, you should definitely wear eye protection, as this long exposure will certainly take a toll on your eyes. The very best way to protect your eyes from the sun is to wear eye protection such a sunglasses as well as a wide-brimmed hat.

Two Different Types of UV Rays

There are two different UV rays, which are UVA and UVB.  These rays damage your eyes in different ways. The UVA rays are responsible for your central vision, while UVB rays affect the cornea and lens or the front of the eye. This is also true for the entire body.  UVB rays are responsible for the sunburns that we feel and see. However, UVA rays go deeper into the cellular structure and damage the tissue deep within. UVA is what is responsible for the aging process.  

UV rays and the sun also are responsible for an increase in dry eye in the summer as well as other factors.  Things such as increased sun exposure can cause the protective lens to dry out with the heat and UV exposure.  This drying out will cause dry eye as well as getting in and out of the pool with chlorine, and the increase of pollen in the air.  Some of this exposure we cannot control, however, protection from the sun’s rays we can. Using sunglasses that are made to filter out the sunlight with a wide-brimmed hat is best.  However, any protection is better than no protection. If you wear contact lenses, ask your doctor about lenses that offer UV protection. There are many options out there and a further layer of protection never hurts.  

Levels of Intensity

There are different levels of UV rays as well.  This is what determines just how intense the sun actually is.  We all know that the sun’s most intense moments are around high noon and early afternoon.  If you can avoid the sun during these times it certainly is best. However, there are levels of intensity from one place to the other as well as the months.  During the summer months, the Earth is closer to the sun, making the sun’s rays more intense than that of the winter months. And, the weather overall has an effect on the intensity of the UV rays.  Many times the intensity is given with the weather report. This is because they take into account all the factors to determine the UV intensity and want to alert the public.  

UV rays also affect the skin and the entire body.  It is important to protect your skin from UV rays with clothing, hats, and skin protecting lotions.  There are all kinds of lotions available on the market today from sprays to rub on lotions. All of these are effective in their own way.  Choose a sunblock that works for your lifestyle is important. There are all kinds of sunblocks available some are sweatproof, waterproof, non-tear forming and so on.  If you plan on swimming or being in the water a lot, a waterproof option is certainly best. This allows you to enjoy the water but keep protected as well. And, remember when enjoying the water, the intensity of the rays is much higher.  This is because the rays will reflect off the water. So, it is very important when around water to ensure you have on your skin protection. 

Wear Protection on Your Skin and Eyes

Ultimately it will depend on you to protect yourself for the sun.  There can be warnings all over the news and weather reports, however, there isn’t going to be anyone forcing you to wear protection.  As we get to know and understand the sun’s rays more and more, there is more and more evidence as to why you should wear sunglasses and sunscreen on a daily basis.  And, this isn’t just for summer, but year-round. The sun’s rays are more intense in the summer, hence why there are more sunburns. However, if you are outdoors all day on a nice winter day you will notice a sunburn as well.  The snow acts just as the water does and reflects the sun’s rays. 

Sunscreen is not just a one-time application as well.  It is something that needs to be continuously applied to the skin to ensure it’s protection.  The exposure to UV rays will break it down and make it less effective over time. Protection from fabric such a lightweight shirt or hat is the very best protection as it does not break down.  And, there is even beachwear specially made just for this purpose. As we further learn of the dangers of UV rays, more and more UV protection options are popping up.

Protect your eyes from UV rays as well by wearing sunglasses. Most people think of their skin before their eyes when it comes to protecting them from harmful UV rays but your eyes are just as important to protect. Make sure the sunglasses you purchase offer 100% protection from UV rays. Don’t assume the cheap dollar store sunglasses block UV rays even if they claim to.

Protection in Winter Months

So, the next time you head to the beach or mountains to ski, bring along your sunscreen, a fun hat and a pair of sunglasses.  Protect yourself from the harmful rays, while enjoying them. Be sure to protect your children as well. Many youngsters do as they see being done, so set a good example as well.  And, educate them on why you are protecting your skin and eyes. Yes, the sun’s rays do cause cancer, however, it damages the body in so many other ways as well.

Some of the damage is aging and breaking down the body’s cells.  This damage can cause premature aging, causes dry eye, and other eye conditions as mentioned above.  Throwing on a pair of sunglasses is a simple task that everyone is capable of but many kids rarely do.  Keep yourself and the little ones fully protected and enjoy these summer days.