Summer is here and we’re all soaking up that Atlanta sunshine— hopefully through a pair of sunglasses.
The sun’s rays are most intense during the Spring and Summer months, but it is important to remember to protect your eyes even during the Fall and Winter.
When heading out in the summer sun, our mental checklist should always include sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. But why should your checklist have sunglasses on it, and why exactly is it so important to keep those baby blues protected?
Ultraviolet radiation—invisible rays of light energy—are emitted from the sun 365 days a year, even on cloudy days. These light rays can cause damage to the skin and eyes, which is why protection from theses rays is important year-round. Absorption of too much ultraviolet light can lead to cataracts, retinal changes and degeneration, growths on the surface of the eye (pinguecula, pterygia, conjunctival nevi), as well as skin lesions and skin growths. These conditions may be monitored over time, or if they appear suspicious for malignancy, other forms of intervention may be necessary or even cataract surgery in some extreme cases.
So, who is at risk for UV damage?
However, individuals with lighter colored eyes and skin are typically at higher risk for these conditions as they have less protective pigment to absorb the ultraviolet rays.
Reflective surfaces also increase UV exposure, making sun protection essential when you’re swimming at the pool, cruising in a boat on the lake, or lounging at the beach. For those of us who enjoy getting up to the north Georgia mountains for a scenic hike, sun protection is important for these trips as well as UV light is more intense at higher altitudes. Some medications can also increase light sensitivity. It is important to check with your prescribing provider to ensure you take extra measures when out in the sun if you are taking any of those medications.
Did you know that chronic UV Exposure can cause Cataracts?
Read more about symptoms of Cataracts.
Thankfully we have many channels of UV eye protection that should be utilized from childhood age and up. Lenses in glasses today, some brands of contact lenses, and intraocular implants used during cataract surgery all have a UV protectant built in to them. Sunglasses are still important even with these innovations and can be found in just about any shape, size, color, and price point. Polarized lenses are great for people who are out on water or do a lot of driving; however they do not necessarily provide increased UV protection. Lenses that boast blockage of UVA and UVB light are ideal, polarized or not. We recommend working with your eye care provider to see which lens is best for you!
Finally, the American Optometric Association suggests annual eye exams for those over 65 years of age, every one to two years for adults, and every year for children when they are in school.
It is important to keep in mind that good vision does not equal good eye health unless confirmed via a thorough eye examination. Milan Eye Center has state of the art equipment and highly trained physicians to diagnose, monitor, and treat conditions associated with UV damage and for your specific needs in Lasik Eye Surgery and Cataract Surgery. We, with the use of the recommendations above, would like to protect your eyesight now and for your future.
Need to know more about the cost of our services? Check out the links below:
About the author: Milan Eye Center is a leading provider of Cataract Surgery, Lasik Eye Surgery, Eye Lid Surgery and other Eye Care Needs.