The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, has designated July as UV Safety Month. To observe UV Safety Month, our team of cosmetic eye & facial surgeons in Los Angeles would like to remind our patients about the importance of protecting the eyes from the sun.
It is well documented that long-term exposure to the sun can raise the risk of serious eye problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer and growths on the eye (i.e., pterygium). UV rays can penetrate the eyes’ structures and cause damage at a cellular level. UVA rays cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, and UVB rays cause sunburn and the formation of skin cancer.
Tips to Protect Your Eyes
Here are some things that our patients can do to reduce their risk of eye damage from the sun:
- Wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection whenever going outdoors. (They may be labeled “UV400.”) Wrap-around glasses are best because they prevent the sun from entering the eyes from the side.
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that protects you from UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply every two hours or after getting wet.
- Slip on a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and eyes.
- Stay out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. Seek out shade instead.
- Be mindful even in cloudy weather; the sun’s rays can penetrate the haze and clouds to cause damage.
- Be careful in higher altitudes, where the sunlight is strongest, and around water because the sun can reflect off of it.
- Never look directly into the sun; it can burn holes in the retina and cause irreversible damage.
- Check the labels of your medications. Certain medications cause photosensitivity, meaning they make the eyes more susceptible to UV ray damage. If this applies to your meds, be extra diligent about sun protection.
- Be safe when you buckle up. Studies show that car windows only block a percentage of the sun’s rays; make sure to apply sunscreen or wear sunglasses if you will be traveling by car.
- Check your skin once a month for suspicious moles or lesions. Follow the ABCDE rule we mentioned on our blog a few months ago.
For more information about keeping your eyes healthy and safe from the sun, please call or email Eyesthetica today.