As the long days of summer wind down, it’s natural to want to go outside and soak in all the warmth you can. But before you do, take care to protect not only your skin from sun damage, but also your vision. Even if you go outside on a cloudy day, the same ultraviolet rays that cause your skin to burn can also damage the surface of your eyes. According to the American Optometric Association, unprotected exposure to the sun can increase the risk of certain types of cataracts and also cancer of the eyelids. On the interior of the eye, harmful rays from the sun can damage the retina, possibly causing significant vision loss over time. The effects of the sun add up each time you go outside without proper protection, so it’s important to think ahead and take the following simple precautions:
- Wear sunglasses outside, even on cloudy or winter days. AOA suggests that sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation and screen 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
- Talk to an eye doctor on your vision care plan for recommendations and individualized guidelines.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Hats block any extra rays from entering your eyes around the sunglasses.