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August 2016
You probably know how important it is to slather on SPF to keep skin safe in the sun. But did you know that protecting your eyes from UV rays is just as important?
Protect your eyes in summer and snow 
The same ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that cause sunburn on your skin can also cause photokeratitis, which is essentially sunburn on your eyes caused by excessive, concentrated exposure to UV rays. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, photokeratitis can be caused by the sun’s reflection on water, sand or snow (also known as snow blindness), as well as tanning beds and lamps.
Take precautions for the future 
While symptoms of photokeratitis are usually temporary, exposure to UV rays can lead to other vision problems down the road:
  • UV exposure can increase your risk of macular degeneration, which causes central vision loss and blind spots.
  • UV exposure also increases your odds of getting cataracts, which cause cloudy or blurry vision. In fact, UV exposure is estimated to cause up to 20 percent of cataracts according to the National Eye Institute.
Choose the right eye protection 
  • Sunglasses probably come to mind first when you think about sun safety for your eyes. But not all sunglasses are created equal when it comes to UV protection. When choosing shades for you and your family, look for options that filter out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
  • If you wear eyeglasses, consider fitover sunglasses designed to be worn over your prescription eyewear or prescription sunglasses.
  • Pair your sunglasses with a baseball cap or broad-brimmed hat for extra protection. PreventBlindness.org emphasizes that a hat can decrease the number of UV rays reaching your eyes by 50 percent.
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