The Sun, UV Radiation & How to Protect Your Eyes

Happy Summer Readers!

July has been appropriately coined “UV Safety Month.” Each person in this office worships the sun and/or beach, so we’ll certainly be taking our own advice on how to better protect ourselves.

Our eyes are very sensitive to UV radiation. This is due to the fact that cornea absorbs high doses of UV light. This may cause a temporary clouding of the cornea–a condition known as snow-blindness.

Before I get to the more serious facts and figures, did you know that bushier eye brows help to protect your nose and the inner quadrants of your eyes from over exposure? Isn’t the physical body just amazing?!

I’m writing this blog post as a freckled, fair-skinned woman with a strong Irish heritage. I’ve had two separate surgeries to remove melanomas from my breast and my back. Less than five years ago, my paternal uncle passed away from melanoma that originated as a spot on his foot, of all places!

As someone who loves the outdoors, needs her daily dose of Vitamin D, but has a certain fear of the sun, I’d like to share some information and some tips on sun safety, specifically for your eyes.

Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that can be life-threatening. Melanoma typically affects the skin, but it can also spread to the eye. “Malignant melanoma of the eye is a rare condition that can occur when your eye has been exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation, or sunlight. The choroid layer of your eye is where blood vessels are stored. This is the layer most commonly affected by malignant melanoma” (healthline.com).

Make sure that your sunglasses offer 100% UVA & UVB protection, just like the sunscreen that we apply to our skin! Wearing a broad rimmed hat is not a bad idea either. Don’t be fooled by clouds; the sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, which is damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.

Studies have shown that folks with lighter colored eyes and/or eye freckles are more likely to have conditions that correlate with the sun’s effects, i.e. macular degeneration or cataracts (www.yoursightmatters.com).

Throughout the month of July, please check our Facebook page for more facts about the sun, your skin, your eyes, and your safety. Of course LIKE us, if you haven’t already! We THANK YOU for that!

Wishing you all, in moderation of course, a sun-filled, safe, and FUN July 4th,  😉

Meredith, Vision Therapist

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