May is the Month to Be Aware of Ultraviolet Light
- Posted on: May 15 2018
Ultraviolet light is just about everywhere. It certainly fills the atmosphere during daylight hours, when the sun beats down to warm our skin. Most people are well aware of the fact that sunlight is only beneficial in limited doses. A few minutes a day of early-morning sunlight promotes our natural production of vitamin D. A few too many minutes a day of sun exposure sharply increases our risk of UV damage. When we want to prevent unnecessary sun spots, leathery skin, and skin cancer, we apply sunscreen. It’s that easy. Or is it?
The time we spend in the sun means our eyes are spending time in the sun, too. Did you know that exposure to intense ultraviolet rays of light can sunburn the corneal surface of the eye? Corneal sunburn is a risk when we spend time on the water, especially, because the reflection of light heightens its intensity. It isn’t just the slight risk of corneal sunburn that concerns experts; it’s the association that has been found between exposure to UV light and instances of cataracts and cancer. UV exposure increases the risk of skin cancer in the eyelid region as well as disease within the eye itself.
Prevention is Easy
There are two practical ways to minimize UV exposure to the eyes and the skin around the eyes. One is to apply sunscreen to this delicate area. Interestingly, a study from the University of Liverpool has discovered that sunscreen application goes wrong around the eyes and bridge of the nose. This isn’t hard to understand; most of us prefer to avoid getting an irritating substance into our eyes. Because 5 to 10% of skin cancers develop on the eyelids, though, we need to rethink how we’re using sunscreen.
Another effective way to prevent unnecessary UV exposure and its subsequent damage is to wear sunglasses. Quality sunglasses will block as much as 100% of UV light. We should accept nothing less than 99% blockage, according to experts. Furthermore, people who spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly around water, may benefit from the additional effects of polarized sunglass lenses.
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Posted in: Eye Care