If you’ve ever felt the pain of sunburn on your skin, the feeling of sunburnt eyes is just as uncomfortable. To avoid discomfort and protect the eyes from the long term effects of sun damage, follow these six tips suggested by doctors of optometry:
1. SPF. SPF. SPF. Always wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 25 on your face, and pay special attention to the area around your eyes.
2. Wear sunglasses year-round. More than 90% of ultraviolet rays penetrate through the clouds. Even when it’s overcast, your eyes are heavily exposed to UV rays. Plus, they reflect off of surfaces like snow and water.
3. Channel your inner movie star. Bigger sunglass frames will provide more protection from the rays. Check with a doctor of optometry to make sure the lenses are both UVA and UVB blocking—after all, not all sunglasses are created equal.
4. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. It will cover your face from the sun.
5. Choose UV-blocking contact lenses. In combination with sunglasses and a hat, UV-blocking contact lenses can protect your eyes from up to 90 per cent of UVA rays and 99 per cent of UVB rays. Ensure that your brand has the appropriate level of protection.
6. Avoid man-made light sources. Tanning lamps or welding sources, for example, emit harmful UV rays. Whether it’s with tinted goggles or simply by closing your eyes, be proactive and protect your eyes from harmful light sources.
Rhea Anderson, a doctor of optometry, explains: “Although there can be immediate symptoms from UV damage to your eyes, many long-term effects can start out symptomless, including cataracts, macular degeneration or eyelid cancer. It is important to get your eyes checked regularly and keep an eye out for those harmful rays all year long.”
More information is available at www.doctorsofoptometry.ca.