During summer, you won’t think twice to apply sunblock on your skin to prevent exposure, but you may have forgotten that your eyes need to be protected as well. Wearing protective eyewear is especially important for children; they have to start wearing them at a young age as it shields their eyes from years of ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
Let’s take a closer look at how UV light works:
UV By Definition
Like many people, you might refer to ultraviolet radiation as “UV light”, but this term is technically incorrect because you can’t see UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation is invisible, and there are three categories of it:
- UVC – These are the highest energy UV rays and potentially could be the most harmful to your eyes and skin. Fortunately, the atmosphere’s ozone layer blocks virtually all UVC rays, but the depletion of the ozone layer could potentially allow high-energy UVC rays to reach the Earth’s surface and cause serious UV-related health problems.
- UVB – These have slightly longer wavelengths and lower energy than UVC rays, and are filtered partially by the ozone layer, but some still reach the Earth’s surface. In low doses, UVB radiation stimulates the production of melanin, which causes the skin to darken, creating a suntan. But in higher doses, it can cause sunburn that increases the risk of skin cancer. UVB rays also cause wrinkles, discolorations and other signs of premature skin aging.
- UVA – These rays are closer to visible light rays and have lower energy than UVB and UVC rays. But UVA rays can pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye. Research suggests UVA rays may play a role in development of macular degeneration, and overexposure has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts.
Protecting Your Eyes From UV Damage
Healthy exposure to sunlight can have positive effects as long as you protect your eyes from UV damage. Our vision therapy experts recommend these few tips that help prevent UV damage in summer or any season of the year:
- Protect your children and elders with sunglasses. Make sure you wear sunglasses as well.
- Wear broad-brimmed hats along with your sunglasses. Have your children and elders wear them too whenever possible.
- Don’t look directly at the sun, especially when it’s strongest from midday to early afternoon and at higher altitudes.
If you’re not sure what type of protective eyewear your child needs, you can always consult with Insight Vision Center Optometry. We’re the best vision therapy centers in the area, so you can reach us at (714) 486-3315 or fill out our convenient contact form. We serve Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and surrounding areas.