Even when you’re covered in safe sunscreen and UV-protective clothing, feeling like you’re ready to hit the waves, perhaps you’ve forgotten one important sunny-day attire– your sunglasses. Without them, you’re putting your eyes at risk for chronic UV damage that could give way to cataracts, cornea burns, and other kinds of eye issues. In fact, even your sunglasses might not be enough to protect your eyes from the sun.
“During the summer, when more time is spent out in the sun, people start thinking about UV protection for their skin, but don’t take similar steps to safeguard their eyes,” says Jan Bergmanson, DO, founding director of the Texas Eye Research and Technology Center.
And because serious damage might not appear for years, you might not notice any eye problems before then, he quips, adding that short-term effects of sun damage can produce tearing up, irritation, and a burning sensation.
Eyes that are unprotected from the sun for a long period can cause a disease called pterygium, which causes vision problems including potential blindness. Pterygium’s only known cause is UV radiation, too, making proper protection even more important.
While shopping for the right pair of sunglasses, know that “polarized” does not mean “UV protection,” hats aren’t good for your eyes, and contacts are a sufficient choice.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
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