Spring has finally arrived in Pittsburgh, bringing with it the opportunity for some much-needed 'spring cleaning' of our personal care habits. As we gear up for the warmer weather and spend more time outside, we absorb UV rays and it's important to brush up on forgotten habits to protect our eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet wavelengths.

The ozone layer, a protective shield in the Earth's stratosphere, plays a crucial role in absorbing the majority of the Sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. When this layer depletes, more UV rays reach the Earth's surface, posing significant health risks to our eyes and skin. The World Health Organization has providedguidelines and recommendations to protect ourselves from this increased exposure, emphasizing the importance of incorporating protective measures in our daily routines.

By taking preventative measures and ensuring we absorb UV radiation less, we can safeguard our vision for the future.

Let's make the most of this new season and prioritize the health of our eyes!

What Does UV Light Have To Do With My Eyes?

Prolonged UV exposure or UV light can significantly increase the risk of developing various eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, growths in the eye, and even cancer. It's important to note that extreme ultraviolet rays aren't solely dependent on direct sunlight, which means that even in cloudy environments like Pittsburgh, sun exposure can still have a detrimental effect on our eyes and vision. According to theSkin Cancer Foundation reports, up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can penetrate through clouds. This highlights the significance of protecting our eyes from extreme UV exposure.

To minimize your eyes' exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, it's crucial to invest in proper protective accessories. As recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses when spending extended periods outdoors is essential. This precautionary measure helps reduce the risk of skin cancer caused by ultraviolet radiation, which is part of the electromagnetic radiation or spectrum. It's important to note that UV light can reflect off surfaces like water, snow, and sand, making it necessary to wear sunglasses in these environments as well.

So, whenever you step outside, even if you didn't plan on staying long, remember to wear your hats and sunglasses for comprehensive eye protection. This is especially important when exposed to mercury vapor lamps, which emit UV spectrum. Stay safe and keep your eyes shielded!

How Do I Choose The Best Sunglasses For My Eyes?

Even if you already own a pair of sunglasses, you may need to invest in a better set this year to protect your eyes from UV exposure, visible light, blue light, and ultraviolet light (UV) radiation. Not all sunglasses effectively block these harmful lights like sunscreen does. The best sunglasses have a transmission factor of only 10% - 30%, meaning they allow no more than 10% - 30% of sunlight to reach your eyes.

The good news is that well-made sunglasses, which clearly list UVA and UVB protection, are often relatively inexpensive. Designer sunglasses, although pricier, are less likely to provide the necessary eye protection. Always read the label that comes with the sunglasses to understand what they do and don't offer. Look for sunglasses that protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB radiation. If the label doesn't mention these elements, opt for a pair that provides the desired protection.

It's important to note that darker sunglasses do not necessarily offer better eye protection. Lens color has no correlation with effective UV protection. In fact, darker sunglasses without proper UV-blocking materials can be worse for your eyes. Their darker tints increase eye dilation, leading to increased UV exposure. Choose a pair that fits comfortably and ensures UVA and UVB protection, as indicated on the sales card.

Protect Your Eyes Now For Better Eye Health Tomorrow

With the spring season here and summer on the horizon, now is the time to upgrade your hats and sunglasses to ensure that they’re reducing your eyes’ exposure to ultraviolet UV radiation or rays. Even if you think you don’t need hats or sunglasses, it’s important to invest in these protective tools and to use them now, while your eyes are still healthy.

Remember: our eyes, like our skin, are put at an increased risk of developing problems every time we expose them to UV light. Our staff members would rather see you wearing your hats and sunglasses now than see your eyes developing problems later in life. If you have questions about determining the best protective accessories for your own eyes, you’re welcome to talk to your own doctor - particularly if you have any special vision needs.

*Image courtesy of Pixabay.com