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Published on May 01, 2015

Letting The Light In

May 1, 2015

woman wearing sunglassesYou were surely warned never to stare at the sun, but squinting in sunlight is just a normal part of a sunny day, right?

Wrong! Even when reflected off surfaces, the sun’s rays can harm your eyes, right away and long term. Failing to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause:

  • Snow blindness (photokeratitis). Despite its nickname, photokeratitis is not just a danger during winter months. It can occur when you spend a day at the beach without sunglasses, are exposed to tanning bed bulbs, or see light reflected off water or concrete. This condition causes red, watery eyes and extreme sensitivity to light. Like a sunburn, photokeratitis is usually temporary and rarely causes long-term damage.
  • Pterygium. This abnormal, usually noncancerous growth in the eye can develop after many years of UV exposure. When the pterygium expands over the center of the cornea, it can reduce your field of vision. Most of these growths can be removed during surgery, but they typically return.
  • Cancer. UV exposure can result in cancer on an eyelid, lower lid, a corner of the eye, or under the eyebrow. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common eyelid cancer, but melanoma can also grow on or near the eyes.
  • Cataracts. The number one cause of blindness worldwide, a cataract results in the lens of the eye becoming cloudy. The World Health Organization estimates up to 20 percent of cataracts may be due to overexposure to UV radiation.

sunglasses on yellow background

Pick The Perfect Pair

No matter what style of sunglass frame you prefer, look for these traits to be sure your new shades’ lenses will protect your eyes:
• Blocks 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation
• Blocks 75 to 90 percent of visible light
• Gray-tinted for proper color recognition

Protection Starts Now

Wear sunglasses every day, even in cloudy weather. Broad-brimmed hats can also protect the skin on your face and around your eyes. Never look directly at the sun, especially during an eclipse, and ensure that children and older family members also use adequate eye protection.

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