Summer Alert: Too much sun can damage your eyes

7:10:00 PM

Sand on your feet, warm summer breeze, its official—summer is finally here! During the hottest season of the year, people often spend more time outdoors which means prolonged exposure to the rays of the sun. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays may cause serious eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. If it worsens, it could lead to blindness. Annually, around 3.2 million people worldwide become blind aggravated by UV exposure. 

To protect our eyes from the long-term damaging effects of the sun, Essilor, the world leader in vision solutions, has launched ‘Seeing the World Better’, a public awareness campaign which aims to promote healthy vision through prevention, protection and correction. Here are a few eye care tips to keep in mind before hitting the beach this summer:

Use sun lenses with E-SPF The heat of the midday summer is three times greater than other seasons. Temperature rises from 35 to 37 degrees Celsius, making UV rays more threatening to our eyes. To prevent eye damage, wear sunglasses with Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF). E-SPF indicates the overall UV protection of your lenses. It is an objective rating system, with values varying from 2 to 25 for clear lenses, and up to 50+ for sun lenses. The higher the E-SPF of your lenses, the higher the UV protection it brings. Unfortunately, not all lenses, whether clear or tinted, have equal UV protection levels. 

While most people use tinted sunglasses during summertime, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee the right amount of protection for our eyes. Sometimes clear lenses have more E-SPF than tinted ones. One of the best clear lenses for sun protection is Essilor’s Crizal Forte® UV, with an E-SPF of 25. It blocks both the front and back side of the lens from harmful UV, thus eyes are protected 25x more than without any glasses.

Wear swimming goggles. According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) American Eye-Q® survey, 42 percent of swimmers open their eyes while swimming in chlorinated water. While it helps seeing underwater, exposing your eyes to the chlorinated pool water can drastically increase the chance of redness or irritation. To prevent this from happening, use goggles that will shield your eyes from this strong chemical. Goggles can also spare your eyes from contracting eye infection that is caused by improperly chlorinated pools. If you get pool water in your eyes, flush your eyes with warm water to prevent irritation or chemical conjunctivitis. If warm water can’t do the trick, consult an eye doctor immediately to effectively wash out the chemicals by using saline or topical steroids.

See an eye doctor. Before you go on a summer adventure, it is best to talk to an eye care professional for recommendations on how to properly care for your eyes. You can also ask your eye doctor for trusted brands of optical lenses that will give your eyes the right amount of E-SPF. 

Caring for your eyes, especially during summer season, is truly important. Harmful UV rays are everywhere so our eyes are always at risk. By following these simple eye care tips, we can protect our eyes while enjoying the great outdoors. So before you head to the beach, make sure to apply sunscreen and keep your sunglasses on. 

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