We wait all year for Summer to finally roll around so we can start enjoying beach season, outdoor barbecues, or going on vacation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has called special awareness to UV rays and the potential harm to our health.
You may already wear sunscreen to protect your skin, but have you thought about protecting your eyes?
Ultra-violet rays can cause damage to your eyes either (i) immediately by excessive exposure, or (i) accumulating prolonged exposure over time. This exposure can even lead to cataracts or macular degeneration.
UV rays may be strongest during the late Spring and Summer months, but the sun never stops producing these radioactive rays. UV rays may not be quite as strong as an X-ray, but can be harmful to your skin or eye health. It’s important to protect your eyes even on cloudy days, as UV rays are still present, even when the sunlight is not as bright.
It’s important to always wear some kind of protection for your eyes anytime you are outdoors. This is especially true for those of us living in Florida, where we are closer to the equator than many other states. All ages need to be protected and conscious of the possible harmful effects, even if the symptoms of ocular damage don’t present themselves until later in life.
Before heading outside, you can check the UV intensity index here on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Local Meteorologists will also include the current rating in their News reports. The risk of overexposure is rated on a scale of 0 to 11+. Higher numbers mean a greater the risk and over 11 is considered extremely dangerous.
It is not uncommon for the UV index in Jacksonville, FL to regularly rank at 11 during the Summer months. If you have to go out, GRAB YOUR SUNGLASSES!
The best possible choice for UV protection would be a pair of wrap-around sunglasses that block 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays. Your sunglasses must include glare reduction and preferably not distort colors. Below are a couple of examples of sunglasses available in our office that fit these requirements, by Oakley.
Brands like Ray Ban, Costa, and even designers like Prada have made an effort to offer strong UV protection along with modern, fashionable styles. In fact, at Trillium Eye Care, we can turn ANY of our frames into your new favorite sunglasses. Additional options like Transition lenses, which will intelligently darken when UV exposure is detected and then return to their clear lens state once back indoors, are also available.
There is no excuse not to protect your eyes from the sun this Summer. Your eyes and future self will be very grateful that you did. With top brands offering a wide selection of styles, you can even look good doing it.
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