Protecting Your Vision from The Sun and UV Damage

August has been heating up! And while one of the best ways to cool off is by heading to the beach, don’t forget to protect your eyes too!

The more time we spend in the sun, the more we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is damaging to both the skin and to our eyes. And sunlight can be even more damaging if it’s also reflecting off of water, so protect your eyes and vision with hats and glasses when you can!

“Exposure to the sun is hazardous anytime during daylight hours- even when it’s cloudy,” says Steven Rhee, D.O., Medical Director and Cornea Specialist at Hawaiian Eye Center.

“UV radiation is especially severe from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can burn the surface of the eyes directly or indirectly from reflections off sand, water and pavement. It is imperative to wear proper eye protection when in the sunlight.”

The effects of damage from UV light often show up slowly and therefore go unnoticed. Exposure to UV light may lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer around the eyes, and pterygium – an unpleasant, noncancerous growth on the eye’s surface. Because of this slow onset of conditions, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly, especially as you get older.

The best way to prevent eye damage from the sun is by wearing sunglasses. No matter the style or cost, choose sunglasses labeled “100% protection” or “UV 400.” Wrap-around sunglasses that extend around the temples offer the best protection but always at least choose the UV protection.

“Everybody, of every age, should wear sunglasses whenever spending any time outside,” says Dr. Rhee.

Protect your vision by adding these preventative measures to your daily routine and get a comprehensive eye exam once a year. Learn more or schedule an appointment at:

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