Springtime, Sunshine, and Your Eyes

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Spring is Here!

And I love it, the trees are blooming, the foothills are starting to get some color and the Runnin’ Utes are in the sweet 16! This is the time of year when people revitalize their New Years’ resolutions and take to the streets and parks with spandex and sweatbands, with strollers and mutts, to enjoy the thaw.

Most of you are probably aware of the effects of sunlight and the correlation with skin damage and cancer. At our altitude (especially if you’re a skier or hiker), it is very easy to get sunburned; just going to the park or jogging around the neighborhood can expose you to harmful UV radiation, so sunscreen and other sun protection is a must!

As careful as one can be about exposing skin to the sun, you may not be aware of the damage that the sun can do to your eyes. At Provo Eye Center, we want to protect our patients’ vision so that they can feel happy and healthy: so preventative care is a must.

What Can I Do to Protect My Vision?

In order to best protect your eyes, you have to understand how the sun can damage them in the first place. When light travels to us from the sun, it comes bundled with a whole spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, not just visible light.

Ultra violet radiation is the form of invisible light most damaging to our eyes and skin. These rays are divided into three subcategories: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC rays are absorbed by our atmosphere so it’s not really an issue, UVA and UVB, on the other hand, can be very damaging.

UVA light damages our retinas, but is typically absorbed by other parts of the eye before it gets there.

UVB light has been correlated with cataracts, photokeratitis, and some forms of eye cancer.

This may sound a little scary, but taking care of your eyes can be just as easy as taking care of your skin. At Provo Eye Center, we offer a wide selection of quality contact lenses and glasses that provide protection from UV light. Talk to your ophthalmologist about your prescription and any eye conditions that make you sensitive to sunlight. Astigmatism, for example, is very common and may require anti-glare lenses.

Non-prescription sunglasses can also be a great help. Talk to your ophthalmologist about getting the right kind of glasses that block out both UVA and UVB light. We recommend wrap-around sunglasses that prevent light from getting around the edges of the frames. It’s important to remember that snow, asphalt, and even grass can reflect UV light in ways you may not be expecting. Finally, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and avoiding sun exposure during peak hours can go a long way in preventing eye damage.

I hope that this has been fun and informative, now that you’re armed with a little knowledge, get out and enjoy the spring weather! I know I will.

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