Living in Boca Raton, there’s no shortage of sunshine. In fact, this is one of the sunniest areas to live in the United States. Because of that, we all need to be cognizant about protecting our eyes from the rays of the sun.
Everyone knows about ultraviolet radiation (UV) and your skin. From crow’s feet to skin cancers, the sun beats up on your skin. It also wreaks havoc on your eyes.
The long and short of it
UV-A and UV-B radiation can affect your eyes both short-term and long-term.
Over the short term, UV radiation can cause photokeratitis. This is akin to sunburn of the eyes. It can be somewhat painful with symptoms such as red eyes, a gritty feeling in the eyes, excessive tearing, and sensitivity to light. These issues are temporary.
Long-term UV exposure is more dangerous. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over the years increases the chance of developing cataracts and may lead to retina damage. The longer the exposure, the greater the association with development of cataracts and other issues such as macular degeneration.
How to protect your eyes
At Aker Kasten, we recommend that you wear quality sunglasses and a hat or cap with a wide brim. Certain contact lenses have built-in UV protection, as well, so if you wear them, ask about those when making your next order.
To provide adequate protection, your sunglasses should:
- Block out 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Screen out 75 to 90% of visible light.
- Have gray lenses so represent color accurately.
- Be high quality and free of distortion.
- Provide impact resistance if you wear them during hazardous work or for sports.
- If you are outdoors a lot, wrap-around frames provide additional protection.
Equally important is an eye exam every two years with the team at Aker Kasten Eye Center. This isn’t simply to adjust your prescription, but also to catch more serious problems before they start impacting your vision permanently. Call us at (561) 338-7722 to make your next appointment.