Dr. Edward Hedaya and the InVision EyeCare team are invested in the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. With summer quickly approaching, it seems appropriate to discuss one of the biggest natural threats to your eyes: the sun, and its harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.
Prolonged exposure to the sun is harmful to your eyes and eyelids for several reasons. The eyelid skin is thin and fragile, making it susceptible to UV light. The lens and cornea are designed to filter UV rays, but years of continued UV absorption can be damaging. The effects of UV-A and UV-B rays are known to cause cataracts, photokeratitis (sunburn on the surface of the eye), pterygium (unsightly growths on the eye) and cancer of the eyelid.
Here are a few tips to protect your eyes from the sun:
Choose the Right Sunglasses
Check the UV rating before buying sunglasses. Select a pair that blocks out 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation. Choose a style you find attractive and comfortable, so you are more likely to wear them regularly.
Also, wear a broad-brimmed hat when outside for ultimate protection.
Avoid UV-Intense Conditions
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the sun’s rays are strongest in a few conditions: midday to early afternoon, at high altitudes and when the sun is reflected off water, snow or ice.
Know Your Risk
Sun damage is a concern for everyone. However, you may be at a higher long-term risk of sun damage if you:
- Have fair skin
- Have light eyes
- Are an adult
- Work or play for long periods of time outdoors
- Take photosensitizing drugs (i.e., drugs that increase your skin’s sensitivity to light, such as antibiotics containing fluoroquinolones and tetracycline, birth control/estrogen pills)
Beware of Artificial Sun
Like prolonged exposure to the sun, repeated indoor tanning can lead to serious eye damage. In fact, tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times what you would get from the sun, according to the AAO.
Be Mindful All Year Long
Sun damage is a concern year-round, not just during the summer, and in various weather conditions. For example, sun damage can occur in cloudy or hazy weather; the sun’s rays can pass through thin clouds. Practice safe sun habits whenever you go outdoors.
Watch for Signs of Skin Cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, approximately 5 to 10 percent of skin cancers develop in the eyelid skin (mostly the lower eyelid). Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma may manifest with early warning signs such as:
- Lump or bump that won’t disappear
- Red eye symptoms or inflammation that won’t respond to medication
- Pigmented lesion with irregular borders (could be flat or elevated)
If you experience any of the above warning signs, or you have questions about your eye health, please contact InVision EyeCare by calling (732) 210-0140 today.