Summer, Sunshine, and your Eyes

As warmer sunny weather has arrived, now is a great time to discuss the importance of sun protection. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun affects various parts of the eye. Starting with the front of the eye, acute excessive exposure to the sun can cause painful burns to the conjunctiva and make the cornea hazy-leading to blurry vision. Chronic exposure to UV radiation accelerates cataract progression, increases the risk of macular degeneration, and can lead to skin cancer around the eyelids. Additionally, as we drive at dusk or dawn, the glare from the sun can be overwhelming, making driving less safe.

To best protect patients from the negative effects of UV radiation, I recommend various products that best meet the demands of the patient.

Transition lenses respond to UV radiation and darken in a few moments. These lenses are great for patients who spend time both indoors and outdoors as the lenses will become clear once the patient goes indoors. Worth noting, these lenses do not tint behind a windshield of a car, as the windshield reflects UV radiation.

Polarized sunwear is another popular choice. These lenses block out light constantly regardless of environment-a popular choice for motorists. These lenses offer premier contrast for outdoor activities, especially fishing. Over-the-counter options exist, or prescription sunglasses can be ordered to experience these benefits.

Though decreasing in popularity, tinted lenses help patients with glare. These lenses can be made in a variety of tints such as rose, yellow, green, and blue. Commonly gray or brown are most popular choices. These lenses help to reduce glare, but stop short of appearing like true sunglasses. Yellow lenses have seen recent application to reduce the input of blue light from digital devices.

For your health and the health of your eyes, strongly consider adopting sun protection for your eyes as a habit that goes along with sunscreen in the summer months to come.

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