Next time you step outside to enjoy the summer sun, don’t forget to bring a pair of sunglasses. Most people know that the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays are bad for the skin. But did you know that too much sun on unprotected eyes increases the risk of eye diseases? This summer, the UCLA Stein Eye and Doheny Eye Institutes and the American Academy of Ophthalmology remind you that sunglasses are more than a bold fashion statement, they are a smart health choice.
Long-term exposure to the sun without proper protection can increase the risk of eye disease, including cataract, macular degeneration, growths on the eye, and a rare form of eye cancer. Even short-term exposure can damage the eyes. Sun reflecting off water can cause a painful sunburn on the front part of the eye, called photokeratitis. It causes redness, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light, and in rare cases, even temporary vision loss.
The good news is that prevention is simple: Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. When purchasing sunglasses, ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – urge the public to choose substance over style, and consider these 6 shopping tips:
If you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag or if they are simply old and you want to make sure, take them to an optical shop. Any shop that has a UV light meter can test your sunglasses.
Find an ophthalmologist or more information on how to protect your eyes from the sun year-round at uclahealth.org/eye.
Tags: American Academy of Ophthalmology, cataract, eye cancer, growths on the eye, Healthy Living, macular degeneration, Ophthalmology, photokeratitis, UCLA Stein Eye and Doheny Eye Institutes, ultraviolet rays, Wellness