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Protect Your Eyes From UV With Visions Optometry

July is UV Safety Month - a great time to think about the importance of Ultraviolet (UV)protection.

We are all aware of the fact that UV rays can cause sunburns and may contribute to skin cancer. But many may not know that UV radiation to the eyes can contribute to photokeratitis (sunburn to the surface of the eye), melanoma of the skin around the eye area (skin cancer), cataracts, pterygium or pinguecula (tissue growth within the eye), macular degeneration, and dry eye disease!

What is UV Light?

UV light is comprised of short wavelengths between about 100 to 400 nanometers (nm). UV can be further broken down into three segments that can penetrate the human eyes and impact us in different ways.

Quick Tip! 1 nanometer equates to almost 4 inches

· UVA (315-400 nm) - UVA wavelengths are longer in the UVA spectrum and penetrate deeper into the eyes, contributing to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Common Sources: the sun, LEDs, tanning beds and booths

· UVB (280-315 nm) - UVB wavelengths are shorter and more powerful. They are believed to affect more of the front surface of the human eyes. UVB is also shown in studies to contribute to cataract formation.

Common Sources: the sun, LEDs, tanning beds and booths

· UVC (100-280 nm) - UVC is the shortest and most powerful of the UV waves. It is believed to be the most harmful to the human eyes, but most of this is generally filtered out by our atmosphere.

Common Sources: the sun, sterilization lights, mercury lamps

Vision for Life: Steps to Take to Prevent UV Damage to Your Eyes

Wear high-quality sunglasses when you are outdoors. We have only two eyes to last us our lifetime. Protect them from harmful UV radiation. This will help to prevent cancers around your eyes, pterygiums/pingueculas, and cataracts!

Quick Tip! Pick frames that fit close enough to your eyes and contour to the shape of your face to help block UV ray exposure from all sides

Wear eyeglass lenses that filter out UV and blue light when you are on devices. Oxidation occurs in our eyes and retina. This process can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. Protecting our eyes from these powerful oxidizing wavelengths is vital!

Eat a healthy diet rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin! This comes in your dark green leafy vegetables and yellow/orange-colored fruits and vegetables. These nutrients are strong antioxidants that help to neutralize the oxidation process in our eyes!

Use caution with sterilization lights. During this COVID-19 Pandemic, the use of these is more prevalent. Many sterilization lights emit UVC - which helps to denature bacteria and viruses, but also puts us at risk of exposure to the type of UV light from which we are usually protected by our atmosphere! If you choose to use a sterilization light, be sure to use it while you are not occupying the space - and be especially careful around children, as they are more susceptible to UV light.

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