July is UV (ultraviolet light) Safety Month, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds Americans of the importance of protecting their eyes from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.
One of the greatest threats to your eyes is invisible. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer. (From http://development.aao.org)
When I was growing up and playing outside we didn’t wear sunglasses, nor did we wear hats when playing, unless it was an organized sporting event. We did wear hats out on the farm from time to time and fishing out on the water. I do wear my sunglasses these days and every once in a while don my hat – should be wearing that all the time for a couple reasons besides my eyes.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these tips to protect your eyes from the sun:
- Don't focus on color or darkness of sunglass lenses: Select sunglasses that block UV rays. Don't be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the price tag.
- Check for 97-100% UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 97 to 100 percent of UV rays and UV-B rays.
- Choose wrap-around styles: Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun's rays can't enter from the side.
- Wear a hat: In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.
- Don't rely on contact lenses: Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, remember your sunglasses.
- Don't be fooled by clouds: The sun's rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime.
- Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever outside and it's especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.
- Don't forget the kids: Everyone is at risk, including children. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses. In addition, try to keep children out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's UV rays are the strongest.
My children and grandchildren all wear hats and sunglasses – a blessing for sure. Hope you and yours are wearing them!
American Academy of Ophthalmology http://development.aao.org
Sunglasses - Choose Sunglasses that Look Great and Protect Your Eyes