Sun Damage and Protecting Your Eyes

Here in Hawaii, we all spend plenty of time at the beach and near the water, while we all know to wear our reef-safe sunscreen to protect our skin, we should also protect our eyes from sun damage.

July is UV Safety Month and Dr. Steven Rhee, D.O., Medical Director and Cornea Specialist at Hawaiian Eye Center shared the following information and tips with us.

UV rays reflected off sand and water can cause eyes to sunburn, potentially resulting in temporary blindness after just a few hours. The more time spent in the sun, the more exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light which is damaging to both the skin and to our eyes, choosing to wear broad-brimmed hats, and 100% UV blocking sunglasses you can be fashionable and protected!

Exposure to the sun’s UV rays is hazardous anytime during daylight hours – even if its cloudy, UV radiation is especially severe from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can burn the surface of the eyes directly or indirectly, which is why it is imperative to wear proper eye protection when in the sunlight.

According to Dr. Rhee “The effects of damage from UV light often shows up slowly and therefore goes unnoticed.”

Long-term exposure to bright light may lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer in and around the eyes, and pterygium—an unpleasant, noncancerous growth on the eye’s surface.

He continued:” “Because of this slow onset of conditions, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly, especially as you age.”The best way to prevent eye damage from the sun is by wearing sunglasses. No matter the style or cost, choose sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection” or “UV 400.” Wrap-around sunglasses that extend around the temples offer the best protection along with wearing a broad-brimmed hat, but always at least choose the highest UV protection available.Adding these preventative measures to your daily routine will help protect your vision!

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