UV rays, or ultraviolet rays, are a form of electromagnetic radiation and can cause damage to your eyes and skin. We often talk about the sun’s UV rays, but they are also emitted from things like tanning beds and welding torches. Always follow safety recommendations to keep your eyes protected.

If your work requires long days outside, or if your children love playing in the fresh air all day, it is important to be extra diligent about UV protection.

Exposure to UV rays can increase your risk of developing numerous eye issues, including:

– corneal sunburn
– macular degeneration
– cataracts
– pterygium
– skin cancer to areas surrounding the eye

There are some everyday steps you can take to keep your eyes safe from UV exposure.

We recommend teaching these practices to the whole family so that you can create lifelong habits. Here’s how you can protect your eyes from UV rays:

  1. Wear UV rated glasses. When purchasing sunglasses, be sure to buy a pair that offer UV protection. Similar to how sunscreen stops ultraviolet light from harming your skin, UV glasses block the harmful rays. Wearing a brimmed hat can add extra protection as well!
  2. Be mindful of the sun’s peak hours. The sun emits the strongest UV rays between 10 am and 3 pm. Try adjusting your outdoor activities so that you can give your eyes a break when the sun’s rays are the most dangerous.
  3. Watch out for reflective surfaces. UV rays can bounce off of shiny surfaces. Fishermen, for example, spend much of their afternoon looking at the water and need to wear protective eyewear.

FACT: By the time a person is 20, they’ve likely been exposed to 80% of their eye’s UV tolerance!