Eye Topic of the Month

July is UV Safety Month







The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes

Reviewed By Odalys Mendoza, MD
Published May. 29, 2024


Summertime often means long hours in the sun. Most of us remember to protect our skin by applying sunblock, but don't forget that your eyes need protection as well. It is important to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to shield your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure.

"UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye's surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens," says ophthalmologist Michael Kutryb, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the dangers UV light can pose. By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for potentially blinding eye diseases and tumors."

Ultraviolet (UV) Light Can Harm Your Eyes

Too much exposure to UV light raises your risk of eye diseases and other problems. Here are a few of the eye conditions you can avoid by wearing sunglasses:

  • Cataracts and eye cancers can take years to develop. Each time you bask in the sun without eye protection, you increase your risk of serious disease. Babies and children need to wear hats and sunglasses for this very reason. People of all ages should take precautions whenever they are outdoors.

  • Growths on the eye, such as pterygium, can show up in our teens or 20s. Surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers, and others who spend long hours under the midday sun or near rivers, oceans, and mountains are at risk.

  • Snow blindness can happen after exposure to UV reflections off of snow, ice, sand, or water.

Exposure to UV rays raises the risk of eye cancers, cataracts, growths on the eye and sunburn to the eye.

Exposure to UV rays raises the risk of eye cancers, cataractsgrowths on the eye and sunburn on the eye.

Protect Your Eyes From Sun Damage in Every Season

Many sunglasses shoppers forget to check the UV rating before purchasing a pair. Be sure to select sunglasses that provide 100% UV or UV400 protection, or block both UV-A and UV-B rays. If you're unsure, check out our recommended types of sunglasses.

Here are additional tips to protect your eyes from UV damage, no matter what the season: 

By embracing these simple guidelines, you and your family can enjoy the sun safely all year long.

Sunlight and Your Health

Exposure to sunlight can have healthy effects. For example, we need a little natural light every day to help us sleep well. The light-sensitive cells in our eyes play a role in our bodies' natural wake-sleep cycles. This is especially important as we age and become more apt to get insomnia.

Spending time outdoors in the daylight can also help prevent nearsightedness in kids. Take your children outside to play to help lower their risk for this myopia. Just don’t forget those hats and sunglasses!

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