Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UV Sun Protection For Eyes

I love the sun. You will never hear me complain about too much sun or too much heat. I have never met a beach or tropical spot that I didn't love. As I write this, the sun has beamed 95 sweltering degrees onto Chicago and I am heading out to soak it up. Don't get me wrong, I always protect my skin with sunscreen and usually a wide-brimmed hat but always, always, sunglasses. I wear sunglasses year round and wherever I travel because my eyes are sensitive to light. It never occurred to me that I was actually protecting my eyes from damaging UV rays until I recently attended an informative webinar organized by The Vision Council. It turns out that your eyes can get sunburned just as easily as your skin and  wrinkles around the eyes, cataracts and cancer of the eye are all connected to UV eye exposure.

Since I specialize in traveling to sun-drenched locations, I thought it would make sense to learn important UV blocking tips for the eyes. According to The Vision Council's UV Report:

*Although UV protective sunglasses are the best defense against UV-related eye damage, only 40% or adults in the U.S. wear sunglasses outside.

* UV damage is cumulative, which means that daily UV exposures adds up over time, possibly leading to future vision impairment and medical issues.

*UV rays can penetrate the Earth's atmosphere at any time or place but certain locations produce increased risk. San Juan, Puerto Rico, Honolulu, Hawaii and Miami, Florida top the list for the highest UV concentration.

* It's best to avoid direct UV radiation but reflected UV light is just as damaging. Water reflects up to 100% of UV rays, snow up to 85%, and dry sand and concrete up to 25%.

So what to do when traveling to sunny or UV-reflecting locations?

*Purchase UV-protected sunglasses from reputable outlets. This means that vendors along the beach, online auction sites, vintage stores and that guy selling shades on the sidewalk are out. I'm a huge fan of scoring bargains but it turns out that cheap sunglasses offer little value for eye health. Shop eye wear shops, department stores and brands that offer UVA and UVB protection labels.

*Check the label. Sometimes  UVA and UVB  protection stickers can be torn off or switched around. Your optometrist actually has a machine to check just how much UV protection your sunglasses provide.

*A protective carrying case is key. Good quality sunglasses come with cases to protect against scratches and breaks.

*Slather sunscreen on exposed skin, including around eyes and areas not covered by your sunglasses.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by The Vision Council, a non profit organization.


2girlsbikini said...

WOW. I never knew certain locations expose me to increased UV rays! Good Info. THANKS!

Fly Girl said...

Angela, I'm so glad you read this post! Beach lovers really need this info, wear those shades!

TexWisGirl said...

i only started wearing sunglasses again 2 years ago after a fellow blogger did a post on eye health and protecting your eyes from the sun's rays. now i wear them all the time outside. :)

Fly Girl said...

Tex, I'm so glad to hear that, especially in sunny Texas. I'm just learning about all the damage the sun can do to eyes and prevention is key.

A Cuban In London said...

Thanks for the info. You see, you're our travel writer fairy godmother! :-)

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, Thanks. I know London is dreary a lot of the time but I still hope you keep sunglasses handy!

SandyCarlson said...

I, too, love the sun and the heat. Thanks for the tips!

Fly Girl said...

The sun and heat are wonderful as long as you're protected!

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

A great idea to give this warning and advice here for those who are unaware of the damage that UV rays can cause to the eyes, Rosalind. There's a huge amount of publicity on this in Australia, and so it's something that I've been known about for a very long time. I have to say that as I'm always on the lookout for the next photo to take, I don't like using sunglasses. What saves me here is that my normal glasses block out UV rays just like sunglasses do. I'm not sure if this is the case with absolutely every type of lens, but it's something worth confirming for eyeglass wearers when getting new glasses. Happy time in the sun then, but with precautions!

Fly Girl said...

Andrew, I learned that Australia is one of the places with the highest UV ratings so I'm glad that the word is out. No, every type of lens doesn't block UV but if you request the protection, I'm sure an optometrist can put it on your eye glasses. Glad you're safe in the sun!

Lisa researching farsightedness said...

It is so important to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Thanks for sharing this informative post!

Fly Girl said...

I hopes it helps educate people about the harm their eyes can suffer from the sun. I had no idea before. Thanks for dropping by.