Summer Eye Care Tips
Now that summer is here, many of us will be spending more time in the sun, which exposes not only our skin, but also our eyes to potentially harmful ultraviolet light. Sunglasses are the sunscreen for our eyes. However, the wrong pair of sunglasses can do more harm than good. Palomar Health affiliated ophthalmologist Jeffrey Lozier, M.D. shared some tips on what to look for in a good pair of sunglasses.
You want sunglasses that block out 100% of both UVA and UVB rays of light. The lens color does not matter. Some are yellow, some are grey, others are brown. Cost doesn't determine effectiveness; you have to look at the tag for the level of protection.
'Some of the cheap ones actually block it, some of the expensive ones don't, so you have to be aware of that (level of protection,)' Dr. Lozier said.
Sunglasses that don't block 100% of the sun's UV rays can actually damage your eye because your pupil dilates letting more sunlight in causing even more damage than if you didn't wear sunglasses at all. Sun damage can contribute to cataract formations and maybe macular degeneration, an age-related condition that can cause blurry vision over time, Dr. Lozier said.
You may wonder how a $20 pair of sunglasses can be more effective than a $200 pair of designer sunglasses. Dr. Lozier says the more expensive pair may have better optics because of the lens shape or the frames may be from a designer label, but as long as the lens is 100% UVA and UVB protected, you are okay.
Dr. Lozier says a common eye condition for lifeguards, fishermen and surfers is Pterygium, an abnormal growth of tissue on the white of the eye that extends to the cornea. This condition is caused by extensive exposure to wind and sunrays. Some grow large enough to need surgery. Unfortunately, there's not much surfers can do about it because eyewear normally isn't an option, but if you paddle board or participate in other activities where you spend extensive time above the surface of the water, you should wear goggles or low-profile masks with the same UV protection as sunglasses.
'Even if it's overcast, it doesn't have to be a bright sunny day, UV light comes through the clouds,' Dr. Lozier said.
You've probably experienced a sunburn on an overcast day and your eyes can be damaged just the same. Dr. Lozier recommends wearing sunglasses every time you will be outside for an extended period of time. You may want a pair of sunglasses with lighter lenses just for hazy days.
When to See an Ophthalmologist
If you are experiencing a slow decline in vision you should probably visit an optometrist but if you have a sudden decrease in vision, pain or redness in the eye or discharge, you should see an ophthalmologist right away.
For more information about eye care, Dr. Lozier recommends visiting eyesmart.org
. If you would like to speak with an ophthalmologist, please visit the Palomar Health website
Caption: (Top) Sunglasses are an important tool to maintain good eye health. You don't need to spend a lot to get 100% UV protection. (Middle) Pterygium is an abnormal growth of tissue on the white of the eye that extends to the cornea.
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