The most cherished and important of all of our senses is vision. Your vision compromises up to 80% of your senses. In fact, more money is spent on eyewear to correct deficient eyesight than any other body sense. Most people understand that Ultraviolet light (UV) exposure is bad for your eyes. Exposure to UV radiation can cause an increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and many other issues. It can also lead to premature aging around the eyes. Over time, you may need a trip to the optometrist to get prescription eyewear to correct your vision problems.
Even though UV can cause damage to your eyes, there are many ways that you can minimize the damage to your eyes. Even small steps can lead to a big decrease in the amount of UV radiation your eyes receive. Here are a few tips you can use to help protect your eyes from UV damage:
Wear Sunglasses or Other Eyewear Every Day
When you see that it’s a bright and sunny day, you wouldn’t hesitate to wear your sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun. But did you know that UV radiation can damage your eyes all 365 days of the year? Even when it’s cloudy outside, some UV radiation still penetrates and can damage your eyes. In fact, 40% of UV exposure occurs when we are not in full sunlight.
To minimize the amount of UV your receive, make sure to wear your sunglasses or prescription glasses whenever you are outside in the daytime. Even when it is cloudy outside, a good pair of UV protecting eyewear will help minimize UV radiation, while still letting plenty of light reach your eyes. Remember that your glasses do not have to be dark tinted to protect against UV radiation. Just make sure that there is an indication on the lenses that they offer UV protection.
Hats Off to Hats for UV Protection
To further shield your eyes from bright sunlight, you can wear a hat. Any wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap will do nicely. As a bonus, a great hat can be a fabulous fashion accessory as well. However, wearing a baseball cap backward probably will not shield your eyes from the sun.
Children Can Be More Vulnerable to UV Damage
The damage to your eyes accumulates over time. This means that eye damage starts early in life. In general, children spend more time outdoors than adults do. Researchers estimate we receive a majority of our UV exposure before the age of 18. In addition, children's eyes tend to expose the retina to more UVA rays than an adult eye. This can lead to an increase in their exposure and risk of later eye damage. That means you should start early to educate your kids on the benefits of eye protection.
Speak to your children about basic eye care tips, such as not looking directly at the sun. Make sure they understand that wearing their sunglasses or other protecting eyewear will help shield UV radiation from their eyes. Most kids will love the prospect of choosing a pair of designer eyewear to wear. And you can have the peace of mind of knowing that their eyes have plenty of protection from UV damage.
Stay Inside When It Is Brightest Outside
On days when it is especially bright outside, it’s probably best to avoid the sunlight altogether. You can check your local UV index to see how much UV radiation is predicted that day. If the index meter is high, above an 8 or 9, it may be a good idea to minimize outdoor activities between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. These are the times when the sun is at its brightest and can cause the most UV damage. You can plan indoor activities during those times instead, like an indoor lunch, or window shopping through an indoor shopping mall.
Get an Eye Checkup Annually
Early detection of problems with your eyes makes a big difference in preventing and treating eye diseases. That makes it important to schedule an appointment with your optometrist or eye care professional at least once per year for an eye exam and checkup. Getting a comprehensive eye exam once a year will ensure that your eyes are as healthy as they can be. Your optometrist or vision care professional can help and advise you if you use corrective eyewear, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Get the Best Eyewear Possible to Protect Your Eyes
If you're in the Los Angeles area, visit Hoff Optometry and Eyewear on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Dr. James Hoff and his staff of vision care professionals can give you expert help and advice on the best eyewear for you.