Blog post by: Eye Physicians of Long Beach

Protect your eyes with Sunglasses

It’s that time of the year again! Time for outdoor fun in the sun. It’s summertime! As we head outside to enjoy the warm weather and the sun’s rays, we must also remember to protect ourselves from too much of a good thing. Sun protection of the skin with sunscreen, hats and umbrellas are part of the summer routine, but we can’t forget to protect our eyes.
The sun’s rays are ultraviolet (UV) which can be dangerous to our eyes. Just as too much UV light can damage our skin, our eyes also have an outer ‘skin’ called the conjunctiva, that can be suffer from long term exposure to UV rays. Thickening of the layer of the ‘white’ area of the eye produces a pinguecula. In some cases the thickened conjunctiva can grow onto the more central ‘colored’ part of the eye, the cornea. This is called a pterygium. With extensive growth toward the pupil, vision can become blurred.
Accelerated growth of a cataract, the clouding of the lens of the eye, can also be associated with UV exposure. Macular degeneration has also been linked to UV rays.
Protection of our eyes with sunglasses that block 100% of the UV rays should be worn when we are exposed to the sun, during summer, but also yearlong. All ages, including children, should wear sunglasses. When choosing sunglasses, look on the label to ensure that the lenses block UV rays. Then go out and enjoy the summer!