Think of sun protection and you’re apt to think of your skin. But the same ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause wrinkles, burns and skin cancer also damage your eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the more you expose your eyes to bright sunlight, the greater your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration—two conditions that can lead to vision loss. What’s more, intense sunlight can burn the cornea. These burns can lead to other eye problems later in life. The bottom line: Set your sights on protecting your eyes with these sun-savvy tips:
- Choose shades that block UV radiation. Look for sunglasses that block 99 percent of UVB and 95 percent of UVA radiation. Don’t judge the sun-protection power by the price tag. Many inexpensive glasses block UV rays as effectively as pricey ones.
- Opt for wraparound styles. The more surface area the sunglasses cover, the more protection for your eyes and surrounding skin. Pick glasses that wrap around to your temples and fit closely to your face to prevent sun from seeping in on the sides.
- Have contact lenses and eyeglasses protected. Ask your ophthalmologist if your contacts and glasses can be treated with UV-blocking material.
- Take extra care at the beach and pool. UV rays reflected off water and sand can be especially intense. Wear your sunglasses on the beach and poolside. When you’re swimming, consider goggles to shield your eyes.
- Pick any color. What’s important is the amount of UV protection—not the color or coat of the lens.