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Home » What's New » This May is UV Awareness Month

This May is UV Awareness Month

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We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.





If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.

 

By now, most Americans are familiar with the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) exposure to your skin, (including sunburn and skin cancer) and the need for applying sunblock and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. What is less known is that UV and other types of radiation from the sun can also cause severe damage to your eyes.

If you often face the sun without sunglasses, think again. Continual contact with harmful ultraviolet light has been linked to damage to the eye.

Risks of UV Eye Exposure

Exposure to excessive quantities of ultraviolet radiation over a short interval can cause photokeratitis which means a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. Long-term UV exposure can lead to more threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can be a threat to vision. Individuals that come into frequent contact with welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at heightened risk of exposure to UV radiation.

UV Eye Protection

To shield your eyes from threatening UV rays, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Look for sunglasses labeled ''UV 400'', which means that they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers (which includes both UVA and UVB rays, both known to enter the atmosphere).

You also want to choose sunglasses with full eye coverage. Wraparound sunglasses can prevent harmful UV rays from coming in through the rear of the sunglasses.

You don't have to empty your pockets to have sufficient UV coverage, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses give full UV defense. Many less-exclusive brands do offer proper defense from the dangerous risks of exposure to sunlight. Further, in addition to keeping your eyes safe from the sun's harmful rays, trendy sunglasses are in style, so pick up a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!