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Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

Your Eye Health: The Dangers of UV Rays

by Damion Wasylow 22 July 2019 12:23 PM

dad and daughter wearing sunglasses at the beach
By now, most people know that overexposure to the Sun can result in serious skin damage and even skin cancer. What you may not know, however, is that those same ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to severe eye damage. Cataracts, corneal sunburn and macular degeneration are just a few conditions that can be initiated or worsened by UV exposure.

UV Safety Month is a national public awareness campaign that reminds us all to make healthy choices. In support, we offer these crucial tips to help you protect your eyes this summer and beyond.

Select and Wear Sunglasses with UV Protection

Not all sunglasses are made the same. Some offer very little UV protection. To adequately shield your eyes, always look for sunglasses that filter 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays. These will typically be labeled either “UV400” or “100% UV protection.” Even with that label, however, you should be vigilant to evaluate the quality. Cheaply made sunglasses may boast a UV400 rating, but only offer a superficial film that can quickly wear off with cleaning. For a wide variety of sunglasses that look great and offer reliable UV protection, a local optical shop is usually your best bet.

Limit Your Exposure

Even while wearing UV blocking sunglasses, it’s important to keep your eyes additionally shielded from the Sun. UV rays have a way of seeping in around the edges of sunglasses and causing damage. A wide brimmed hat is an excellent second layer of defense. If you’ll be outside for an extended period – watching sports or lounging by the pool, for example, take advantage of a tent of umbrella. Whatever you do, never look directly at the Sun. And don’t get a false sense of security from the presence of clouds. UV rays pass right through.

Choose Your Outdoors Time Wisely

UV rays are generally strongest from 10am-4pm in late spring and early summer and during daylight savings time. Planning outdoor events earlier or later in the day will help limit your UV exposure. You should also keep an eye on your local weather forecast for an expectation of the day’s Ultraviolet (UV) Index in your area. The UV Index uses a 0-11+ scale (with zero being the lowest and 11 or more being the highest) to describe the day's likely levels of UV ray exposure. Days with a rating of 7 or higher may be best spent indoors.

At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we offer a variety of stylish, UV-protectant sunglasses for the whole family – prescription and non-prescription. Stop by one of our convenient Gainesville optical shops (NW 8th Avenue and 43rd Street or Tioga Town Center) today, or call us at 352-373-4300.



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