Prevent Blindness has designated May as Ultraviolet Awareness Month as the warmer weather encourages more outdoor activities. The nonprofit organization is attempting to educate the public about the harmful effects of UV exposure on the eyes and vision by providing a dedicated webpage, PreventBlindness.org/sun-and-vision, has downloadable fact sheets, and shareable social media infographics to spread among co-workers, friends and families.
The sun emits energy (radiation) in a variety of forms. One form is the sunlight we see. Another example is the heat we feel from the sun. A third type, ultraviolet (UV) rays, are also invisible to the naked eye. Sunburn is caused by UV rays. They can also harm your eyes and impair your vision.
Ultraviolet Awareness Explained
UV rays are classified into two types: UV-A and UV-B. UV rays can contribute to a variety of eye problems over time.
UV-A rays can harm your central vision. It has the potential to harm the macula, a portion of the retina at the back of your eye.
The cornea and lens of your eye absorb the majority of UV-B rays, but these rays may cause more damage to your eyes than UV-A rays.
How You Can Shield Your Eyes
You can shield your eyes from UV rays in two ways:
- Understand the dangers of UV rays.
- Wear proper eye protection and UV-blocking hats.
UV rays can come from many directions. They radiate directly from the sun, but they are also reflected from the ground, from water, snow, sand and other bright surfaces.
- Wear Sunglasses and a Brimmed Hat
- Use eyewear that absorbs UV rays and wear a brimmed hat or cap
A wide-brimmed hat or cap will block approximately half of the UV rays. A wide-brimmed hat or cap can also help to reduce UV rays that enter the eyes from above or around glasses.
UV-absorbing eyewear provides the most protection. UV-A and UV-B rays should be absorbed by all types of eyewear, including prescription and non-prescription glasses, contact lenses, and lens implants. UV-blocking lens materials, coatings, and photochromic lenses are all options for UV protection in everyday eyewear. UV protection is inexpensive and does not interfere with seeing clearly.
Be sure to have regular annual eye exams and contact us if you have any notable changes in vision.
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.