Is a Sun Kissed Tan Worth Ruining Your Eye Health?

It’s almost suntan season, but before you start working on your golden glow, we want to give you a little warning. As one of the top LASIK providers in the Pacific Northwest, Will Vision and Laser Centers is committed to improving vision and eye health. This summer, we want all of our patients to know that UV rays don’t just affect the skin. They can damage the eyes and increase your risk for future eye health problems. Protect your eyes from the sun this summer. It is just as important as protecting your skin.

Too Much Sun Can Damage Your Eyes

UV rays, also known as ultraviolet rays, are responsible for summer tans and sunburns. These rays are emitted by the sun and are present year-round, although they tend to be strongest during the summer and in the middle of the day.

UV rays are also emitted by sunless tanning beds and are the reason that they provide a quick tan. Tanning in any situation is bad for your skin and your eyes, and tanning beds are often worse due to the concentrated UV exposure they provide.

Too much exposure to UV light increases the risk of many eye diseases including:

  • Pinguecula and Pterygium (surfer’s eye) – a growth on the conjunctiva that may eventually grow to cover part of the cornea. These can affect vision if they grow large enough.
  • Cataracts – a clouding of the lens of the eye and the most common cause of vision loss in patients over 40.
  • Ocular Melanoma – a type of eye cancer. It is rare, but hard to detect without regular eye exams.
  • Photokeratitis – a temporary sunburn to the eye. It can be very painful and causes redness and swelling.

Other eye diseases may be linked to sun exposure as well. Reducing exposure to UV light can reduce your risk of these diseases and many others. Some of these conditions can cause vision loss or blindness.

Protecting Your Vision from the Sun

Too much sun can harm the eyes, but there are some very simple ways that you can protect them. Although the sun is strongest during the summer, UV rays are present year-round, even during the cloudy, overcast days of a Pacific Northwest winter. Employ these simple techniques during every season to dramatically reduce UV exposure.

  • Use Sunglasses – If you don’t already own a good pair of shades, invest in a pair today. These don’t need to be expensive but should offer 100% UV protection. Bigger lenses are better as they offer more coverage. Darkness, lens color, and polarization don’t affect UV protection.
  • Wear a Broad-Brimmed Hat – Sunglasses are a great starting point, but UV light can sneak into the eyes from the sides and top of your sunglasses. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can increase your eye protection. It has the added benefit of protecting the face from the sun too.

These habits are easy to start and won’t keep you from enjoying your favorite outdoor activities. Remember, UV exposure can happen at any age. Make sure your children wear sunglasses and hats too!

You’ve invested in your eyes by getting LASIK surgery. Help your investment to last by protecting your eyes. Learn more about LASIK surgery in Portland, Salem, and Vancouver by calling Will Vision and Laser Centers at 877-542-3937.