Did you know your eyes can get sunburned? UV rays reflected off sand and water can cause eyes to sunburn, which has the potential for temporary blindness in just a few hours.

Since July is National Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month, it’s a perfect time to shed some sunlight on the effects of long-term sun exposure to your eyes. Studies show bright sunlight may increase the risk of cataracts and growths on the eyes, including cancer.

A few tips to help protect your eyes this summer – 

  • Not just for the paparazzi. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from UV rays and to reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye problems. Wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays protect the eyes from all angles, and are pretty stylish, too.
  • Throw some shade. Cover up with sun protection gear like a hat with a wide brim to protect your eyes, face and scalp.
  • Don’t go into the light. When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday, when the sun's rays are strongest. This includes 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March through October, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., November through February.
  • Take cover. Seek shade such as umbrellas, trees or other shelters, especially during midday hours.
  • Lay it on thick. Wear sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a thick layer at least 15 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy or overcast days. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours after sweating, swimming or toweling off.

Sources:
David Turbert (August 24, 2014), “Keep an Eye on Ultraviolet (UV) Safety,” (accessed April 30, 2018), available at aao.org.
Shirley Dang (April 30, 2014), “Sun Smart UV Safety Infographic,” (accessed April 30, 2018), available at aao.org.