People are very aware of the effects of the sun on their skin and take precautions to protect it. And rightly so. After all, the sun can not only cause an uncomfortable burn if you get too much exposure, but you can also end up with cancer over time.
Yet, with the newfound concern for skin cancer there seems to be something left out. Nobody seems to be thinking enough about how the sun affects the eyes. If it can harm your skin, then imagine what can happen to something as sensitive as your eyes.
We all know that you can’t stare at the sun, but the concern usually stops there. Even just being out for too long in the sun can cause a lot of problems for your eyes. And if you already have issues like glaucoma then you need to be extra vigilant.
In this article, I will go over several things you can do to protect your eyes from the sun.
Wear the right sunglasses
Try to remember one key thing when you are out looking for the right sunglasses. The damaging aspect of sunlight comes from the UV rays. So make sure that the sunglasses block those rays. This is the most important part to be aware of as ones that don’t offer UV protection won’t do much to protect your eyes.
If you wear glasses then it does get slightly more complicated as understanding your glasses prescription is essential in finding the right sunglasses for you. If you can’t see or read well then you aren’t likely to use them as much as you should which will defeat the purpose. Though, if you wear contact lenses then you can save some money on prescription sunglasses and just go with regular ones.
Look for large frames that will cover a lot of area even around your eyes. Though the style may not seem cool, wrap around sunglasses are the most effective as they will block the UV rays from coming in peripherally.
A wide brim hat will help block the sun and keep it out of your eyes. Even a good baseball cap will help block the light. If the material is thin you will have to make sure that it contains a UV blocker. Remember, this is the real problem with the sunlight as if UV rays can pass through the material, then it is like not protecting your eyes at all.
When should you protect your eyes?
All year round. Yes, even in the winter you need to protect your eyes from UV rays from the sun. Wear a hat that covers your eyes as you would in the summer and also protect your eyes with some sunglasses that block UV rays.
If you are out on the slopes this is especially important as the snow can reflect the sunlight making it very strong. In fact, this is even worse than being out on a sunny day in the summer as it reflects all over the place.
What can happen to your eyes?
Believe it or not, you can actually get a sunburn on your cornea of your eyes. The result of this is that you will have pain and irritated eyes. And constant tearing up which can be annoying. Any exposure to light afterwards will cause sensitivity and discomfort.
That is the best case scenario as far as symptoms go.
When you have a bad case, it can cause blurry vision, halo effects and temporary loss of vision. Usually this is what happens when you look directly at the sun, but it is also common in people who were out in the snow on a sunny day and didn’t use eye protection.
The longer you stay out in the sun without protection, the more likely you are to develop cataracts later in life. This is when your eye lenses become cloudy and dark. It causes poor vision with cloudiness, double vision and even dulling of colors.
What to do when you have damage to your eyes from the sun
Since the effects of the sun and UV rays on your eyes is cumulative, you won’t know right away that you have damage.
Over time you may notice that your eyes are becoming more sensitive or even frequently irritated. Later, you may start experiencing symptoms of a larger problem. In many cases, your symptoms will start to fade as you spend time indoors or protect your eyes from the sun.
When they don’t, then it is time to see a specialist that can check if you have a more serious problem. In which case you may need surgery.