The leaves are gone and it’s cold outside BUT the sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky – it’s the perfect day to go outside and get a break from the dark that settles in earlier and earlier each day.
Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, an afternoon in the sun could have a serious impact on your eye health…..yes, even in the winter. According to the American Skin Cancer Foundation, exposure to UV rays can lead directly to melanoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. It’s even possible to experience corneal sunburn (or photokeratitis), which can have a serious long-term impact your vision.
Symptoms of sun damage to the eyes can include: pain or redness in the eyes, swelling, light sensitivity and temporary loss of vision. An with the reflective effects of the snow in the winter, snow blindness.
With that in mind, here are a few easy ways to ensure your eyes are protected from harmful UV rays.
Buy Quality Sunglasses
Not all shades are created equal. Avoid poorly manufactured sunglasses. Instead, invest in quality lenses that fit your face properly and are clearly marked as having 100% UV protection. For maximum UV protection for the eyes, try a pair of wraparound frames that protect your eyes from all angles especially if boarding, skiing, taboganing or just hanging outside this winter. Keep wearing them right through the rest of the year!
Grab Some Shade When Needed
It’s difficult to avoid the sun between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. when we are craving the brightness and warmth of the sun. This doesn’t mean you have to head indoors it can be as simple as getting behind a tree, under a canopy or tent or create your own with an umbrella.
Don’t Look Directly at the Sun
Even while wearing a pair of sunglasses, looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, is never a good idea. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, staring at the sun can lead directly to solar retinopathy—a serious condition in which your eye’s retina is damaged by solar radiation.