It’s common knowledge that sun exposure and sunburns can increase your chances of developing skin cancer, but UV radiation can also cause significant damage to your eyes. Your cornea, natural eye lens and other parts of your eyes are vulnerable to UV rays and contribute to cataract development as well as macular degeneration, certain eye growths and cancer. High-Energy Visible (HEV) radiation or “blue light” also increases your risk of eye disease. However, wearing 100% UV-protective sunglasses blocks out these harmful rays and minimizes damage to your vision and ocular health. These sunglasses are especially important for children as most kids spend a lot of time outdoors.
July is UV Safety Month, and our eye doctor in Chicago wants to remind you of the importance of wearing the right pair of sunglasses whenever you’re outside—in sunny and cloudy weather.
Some of the tips we recommend you use when choosing your new pair of sunglasses include:
- Verify 100% UV Protection. Not all sunglasses offer UV protection, and even those with stickers indicating they block out all UV rays can be deceiving. There are a few ways to test your sunglasses on your own, but Dr. Foulkes can help you determine if your sunglasses offer 100% coverage and recommend specific sunglasses that provide the best UV ray and blue light protection.
- Lens Color Doesn’t Matter. You may think the darker the lens, the more UV protection, but even clear lenses can block out 100% of harmful rays. Although, reddish-brown, copper and bronze colored lenses can shield your eyes from blue light.
- Purchase Wrap-Around, Closefitting Sunglasses. Your sunglasses should stop UV rays from all angles to provide the maximum amount of eye protection, and the best way to ensure the most coverage is to buy glasses with large, wide lenses.
Make sure your sunglasses stay on even when you’re in the shade as sun rays can reflect off water, roadways and buildings. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes a UV Index every day and issues a UV alert when the radiation is higher than average. You can further safeguard your eyes and your face by wearing a wide-brimmed hat on particularly UV ray heavy days.
If you have questions about choosing the right sunglasses or it’s time for your annual eye exam, please contact Foulkes Vision in Chicago today at 630-724-1400 to schedule your appointment. We serve clients in Lombard, Downers Grove and throughout the Chicagoland area.