Most of us are aware of the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. Whenever my family and I go to the beach, the first thing we do is slather on the sunscreen in an effort to shield our skin from UV-rays. But what about our eyes? UV-rays are just as harmful to our vision, and our eyes need to be protected as well.
According to the Vision Care Institute, a Johnson & Johnson company, only about 65% of Americans wear sunglasses to help protect their eyes from the sun’s rays, and only 39% make sure their children wear sunglasses. Since children have larger pupils, clearer lenses and oftentimes spend more time outside without protecting their eyes, it’s no surprise that it is estimated a large amount of lifetime exposure to UV rays may occur by age 18.
There are some helpful ways to help keep your eyes safe and healthy. For one, wearing sunglasses can help block UV rays. For most styles however, while they prevent UV rays from entering through the lenses, do not prevent rays from reading the sides, top and bottom of the glasses. Hats with brims also offer protection from the sun. However, they don’t protect our eyes from the rays reflected off surfaces like water, sand and pavement.
Your best bet for protecting your eyes? A combination of sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and for some, UV-blocking contact lenses. The American Optometric Association offers ways to protect your eyes from UV rays, and some tips for those who wear contact lenses. Take a look at their website for more information on protecting your eyes this summer and all year round.