With September upon us, it may be hard to remember that we still need to use sun protection. With temperatures still summer-like (we just spent last weekend at a theme park with the temperatures in the ninety degree range, so I do not believe fall is here quite yet!), you still need to protect yourself, your skin, and even your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.
Often times, eye protection tends gets overlooked while you are lathering on the sunscreen and making sure you are wearing light cool bamboo clothes. Here are a few tips to protect one of the most important organs of your body:
- Wear your shades! I know you have heard it before, but ultraviolet rays (UV) are really bad for your eyes. These rays can burn your corneas (the surface of your eyes). UV rays can also lead to the development of cataracts (which cause hazy vision) and age related macular degeneration (which is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans). Preventing such long-term damage is easy – buy sunglasses with labels that clearly state that they protect you from 99% – 100% of UVA and UVB light. You may even consider using wraparound sunglasses to stop the UV rays from entering from the sides of the frame! A dark lens does not necessarily offer UV protection; it must also say it does on the label. My doctor has a rack of sunglasses that do just that. I know when buying from them that I am receiving the best sunglasses for my eyes. If you already wear glasses, you can also purchase prescription sunglasses that do the same thing!
- Wear a hat! A wide-brimmed hat or cap can further protect you from the sun’s harmful rays especially those that hit the eyes from above your sunglasses. Or course, we would recommend one made from bamboo!
- Stick with your plan! Even if your daily summer routine varies, it is very important to stick with your regular eye care treatment regimen. Your eye doctor will be able to track any changes that are occurring with your eyes (sometimes before you even notice).
- Wear your swim goggles! If you swim for sport or even for recreation, make sure that you wear goggles to protect your eyes from waterborne bacteria and swimming pool chemicals.
- Get adequate rest! Summertime never seems long enough. However, instead of packing a million activities into your summer vacation, try getting a little extra sleep. Rest can refresh your eyes and help them work more efficiently.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking is a known risk factor for macular degeneration. It has also been linked to the development of cataracts and dry eye syndrome. Just add this to the many reasons why you should quit!
- Lastly, don’t forget the kids! Kids of all ages – from babies to teens – need to wear UV-protective sunglasses and a hat or visor. As with adults, make sure your child’s sunglasses block out 99% – 100% of UV rays.
Like greening your home, the little changes you make in your sun protection routine can pay large dividends in the long run. To quote Ben Franklin, “an ounce or prevention is worth a pound of cure”.