We all know the value of guarding against sunburn and skin cancer by slathering on sunscreen, and most of us wear sunglasses in summer to shield our eyes from glare. When it comes to preserving eyesight over the long term, however, many of us have misconceptions about the sun’s dangers. Do you know the facts behind these myths?
- Myth #1: Sunglasses are not necessary in winter.
Fact: The damaging effects of UV rays are present during winter as well as summer. Sunglasses with UV protection are necessary whenever you spend time outdoors during daylight hours, all year round.
- Myth #2: On overcast days, UV rays are not harmful.
Fact: Just because the sun is not glaring brightly does not mean its UV rays are not affecting the eyes. If there’s daylight, UV rays are present. They penetrate through haze and clouds, and reflect off water, white sand, pavement and snow.
- Myth #3: Our eyesight deteriorates with age simply because we get older.
Fact: This is true to some extent, but the fact is that a lifetime of exposure to UV light increases the likelihood of developing macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye conditions. T
- Myth #4: Adults’ eyes are at a higher risk of sun damage than children’s.
Fact: Just the opposite is true. Children’s eyes are especially vulnerable to sun damage because they are still developing. Their pupils are larger, allowing in more light, and the lenses of their eyes are more transparent. They also spend more time outdoors than most adults. Brief but intense UV contact may cause corneal sunburn, the most immediate danger to children’s eyes from sun overexposure.
- Myth #5: Only the sun emits ultraviolet light.
Fact: Artificial light sources, such as tanning beds and welding machines, also produce UV radiation and require eye protection during use.
Remember: Shades, Hat, Veggies
Here are the best ways to protect your eyes:
- When spending time outdoors, wear protective eyewear, such as polarized sunglasses, that blocks 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap, which will block about half of UV rays.
Children’s eyes are especially vulnerable to sun damage because they are still developing.
- Remember that UV rays reflect off bright surfaces such as water, snow, white sand and pavement, making it critical—especially for children—to wear sunglasses and hats in the snow or at the beach, swimming pool or playground.
- Always wear protective goggles when using a tanning bed or welding machine.
- Eat a healthy diet. There is scientific evidence that a diet rich in brightly colored fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk of sun damage to your eyes.
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Our eye care tips will help you prepare your eyes for the warmer season. Keep your eye drops in the fridge, preparing for allergies, and visiting your optometrist for an eye examination.
If you’re on the market for new sunglasses, eyeglasses or contact lenses this Spring, check out our deals page for discounts and sales.