As summer draws near, the sun gets higher in the sky and stays there longer. Those long summer days provide more opportunity for outdoor activities. With increased exposure to the sunlight, it is wise to consider the effects of ultraviolet light on our body.
Long term exposure to ultraviolet or UV light from the sun not only causes skin problems like wrinkles and skin cancer, it is also harmful to the eyes. Sunlight exposure contributes to the formation of cataracts and development of macular degeneration.
Cataracts are a cloudiness that develops in the lens of the eye. Cataracts normally develop as we age. But they can also occur at earlier ages due to increased UV light exposure.
Macular degeneration occurs deep within the eye at the point where all light is focused. This part of the retina where all light is focused is called the macula. When degeneration occurs, we lose the central point of our vision and the ability to see 20/20.
Most people are aware of the benefits of suntan lotion and UV blocking sunglasses. But did you know that there are several contact lenses now available that are UV protective as well? Since these contacts are placed directly on the eye, they are able to block all UV light while sunglasses allow UV light to enter from the sides of the frames.
UV protection is so important that you can now request UV protection in your clear prescription eyeglasses. This is the same UV protection that is found in UV blocking sunglasses.
Wearing UV protective contacts or finding a pair of sunglasses that wrap around your eyes to block stray light from the side are effective ways to protect your eyes as you enjoy the summer sunshine. You might even decide to do both. No matter whether you are going to the beach, playing golf or lounging around the swimming pool, protect your eyes.
Enjoy the great outdoors during warmer weather but don’t forget:
- Suntan lotion
- A wide brimmed hat
- UV blocking contact lenses