July is UV safety awareness month. Spending time in the sun can be great for our health; it promotes production of Vitamin D, improves bone health, lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of various diseases and is also good for mental health. However, spending long hours in the sun can also be detrimental for our health. Overexposure to sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be damaging to our skin increasing the risk of skin cancer. It can also lead to suppression of the immune system. Unprotected exposure to the sun can also damage our eyes resulting in development of cataracts and even eye cancer.
Sun exposure and eye diseases
Unprotected exposure can cause a number of eye related issues:
- Photokeratitis: this is a temporary eye condition also known as ‘corneal sunburn’. Some symptoms include eye redness, eye twitching, headaches, sensitivity to bright lights, blurry vision, and temporary vision loss.
- Cataracts: A cataract is a dense clouding in the lens of an eye due to protein build up. Read more about cataracts here: https://lmcoptometry.ca/cataract-symptoms-risk-factors-treatment/
- Pterygium: this is also known as ‘surfer’s eye’. It is growth of fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva of the eye due to overexposure to harmful UV rays. Symptoms include eye redness, burning and grittiness.
- Macular degeneration: this is an eye disease that affects the central vision of a person. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is linked to over exposure to UV rays.
Protecting yourself from the sun
There are a few safety measures you can take to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and enjoy the sun at the same time. Here are some recommendations:
- Invest in high quality, UV protection sunglasses that protect you from all types of UV rays. At LMC Optometry, we have a wide variety of options to choose from. Visit us today to pick your pair for the summer! Click the button below to browse all the different brands we carry.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Apply sunscreen for times when you want to take off your sunglasses. Choose one that is safe for your face and with an of SPF 15 or higher.
- Wear a hat! Not only does it look stylish, but a hat can also protect your skin and eyes from UV exposure when you’re out in the sun.
- Sit under a sunshade or take an umbrella with you, it’s always better to find spots where you are not directly under the sun.
- Be aware of altitude and UV exposure as UV increases with altitude. Be extra cautious when you’re involved in activities such as hiking.
We want you to enjoy your time in the sun and protect your vision at the same time! Visit LMC Optometry and let one of our experts help you choose a pair of trendy sunglasses that can protect your eyes from the sun.