The holiday season is now upon us, with many people travelling abroad to catch the summer sun.
Along with this, many medical doctors and scientists will reinforce the need to protect ourselves from the heat and the effects of the sun – heat stroke, potential skin cancer and so on.
However, it is rare for experts to advise on how to protect the eyes, bar the wearing of sunglasses.
But according to one eye surgeon it is just as important to look after the eyesight as it is to look after the rest of the body.
This month is National UV Safety Month in the USA. Eye surgeon Dr. John Davidson believes that people should be more aware of what problems can occur with the eyes, and more importantly, what should be done to protect them.
According to Dr. Davidson, in addition to potential skin cancer risks from UV radiation, the sun can increase risks of developing eye diseases such as cancer, cataracts and photokeratitis (temporary blindness).
Dr Davidson, who operates his own practice, offers the following tips to protect the eyes when outside.
- Choose sunglasses which block out completely all UV radiation. They should be marked appropriately. Going by the darkness of the lens is not sufficient.
- UV light will still cause damage even when the weather is cloudy, so sunglasses should be worn even when there is no sunshine forecast.
- Wear a hat, not only to protect the head but also to shade the eyes.
- Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight, so it is advisable to check with the pharmacist or doctor before taking them. There may also be temporary alternatives.
- Be aware of the reflection of the sun’s rays off the sea, sand and even the pavement.
- Take care when wearing contact lenses. Even if the lens blocks out UV light it won’t protect the whole of the eye. Wear sunglasses as well.