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Protecting Your Eyes from UV Rays

Springtime is right around the corner! The warmer weather means we’ll be spending more time outside, which means more exposure to harmful UV rays.

Although it’s easy to remember to protect your skin with sunscreen and long sleeves, it’s also easy to forget to protect your eyes! In this blog post, we’re breaking down what UV rays are, how they can harm your eyesight, and the habits you can instill to protect your vision this spring season.

What are UV Rays?

UV rays (also known as ultraviolet rays) are an invisible kind of radiation. There are a few different types of UV rays and they come from places of light like the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. The types of UV rays we are concerned with when it comes to skin and eye protection are UVA and UVB rays. These types of rays are able to penetrate your skin cells which leads to burns, aging, and even cancer. These rays also cause sunburned eyes and increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, growths, and eye-related cancer.

Here in Nebraska, you are at the highest risk of developing complications from UV rays during the spring and summer months, especially toward the middle of the day when the UV index is at 3 or higher. However, UV rays are still present on cloudy and cold days, which means they are a risk all year round.

Tip: If you have an iPhone, the weather app will tell you what the current UV index is!

So how can you best protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays?

The most important thing you can do to protect your eyes from harmful rays is to wear UVA and UVB-blocking sunglasses. When purchasing sunglasses, it’s important to look for brands that block 100% of UV rays. Sunglasses without this feature can actually cause more damage because they shade the eye, allowing for more UV rays to hit the pupil.

If you spend a significant portion of your time outside for your job or hobbies, consider investing in a pair of wraparound sunglasses which sit tightly against your skin and prevent rays from creeping in around the edges of your glasses.

Wearing a hat will also protect your eyes from UV rays! When paired with UV-blocking sunglasses, hats help to protect the space between your sunglasses and skin.

If you are able to, stay in the shade! As simple as it is, it’s important to limit your time in the sun, particularly when UV rays are at their strongest. If UV rays are high, consider staying indoors.

And lastly, don’t let cool temps and overcast weather trick you! Even on cooler spring days, UV rays can still reach you. Be sure to protect your eyes using the methods above throughout the year.

If you don’t already have a pair of reliable, UV-blocking sunglasses, now is the time to get some! Please feel free to stop into our office to try some on – we’d love to help you choose a stylish pair that will also protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. As always, if you have questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to contact us.