It’s not exactly breaking news that the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is harmful for your eyes and skin, but it might not be something you consider once the dog days of summer are behind you. Regardless of the season, you need to protect your eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses as UV light can have harmful effects on your eyelid, cornea, lens and retina.
Let’s look at all four seasons and the unique challenges each presents when considering your eye health.
Although the sun’s rays are less intense in autumn than in summer, the sun sits lower in the sky and closer to the horizon, so harmful UV rays have a direct path to your eyes. Thanks to the cooler air temperature you may not realize just how strong the sun is during this time of year and its position in the sky actually leads to higher levels of UV exposure.
The glare can also be so intense in autumn that it causes temporary blindness, making driving and walking dangerous. Sunglasses with polarized lenses, or EyKuver for your everyday RX glasses, help block the glare and improve vision clarity.
The winter sun actually may be more harmful to your eyes than the summer sun since it sits lower in the sky and at a different angle, exposing you to more ultraviolet rays and glare. The snow reflects nearly 80 percent of the sun's harmful rays, and can even result in something known as “snow blindness.” It’s critical to wear sunglasses anytime you are outside as well as UV-blocking goggles while enjoying winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
The cooler temperatures and harsh winter winds can also irritate your eyes. The drop in temperature causes the oil in the tear film to thicken — affecting the balance of the tears and their ability to adequately nourish and protect the eyes. Most notably this results in red, dry, watery eyes but can be alleviated by wearing wrap-around sunglasses when outdoors and using moisturizing eye drops as needed.
The most important step you can take to protect your eyes, especially in summer, is to wear sunglasses (or EyKuver) anytime you are outside.
Spring brings stronger solar radiation as well as common allergens and pollutants that can irritate your eyes. During the spring months it’s important to keep your eyes moisturized and if you suffer from seasonal allergies, keeping your windows closed and air conditioning on may provide some relief from itchy, dry and watery allergy eyes. Invest in a quality pair of sunglasses, or apply EyKuver to your RX glasses, and wear them whenever you are outside, as added protection, to help keep pollen out of your eyes.
UV exposure is much higher during the summer and can cause eye irritation, excessive blinking and sensitivity to bright light. It can also cause photokeratitis – painful sunburn of the cornea, similar to snow blindness.
Long-term effects of UV exposure can be much more serious, and include increased risk of conditions such as:
- Cataract, a clouding of the lens of the eye, which often requires surgery
- Pterygium, a fleshy overgrowth of the conjunctiva
- Skin cancer of the eyelids or the skin around the eyes
- Cancer of the conjunctiva
- Solar keratopathy, a cloudiness of the cornea
The most important step you can take to protect your eyes, especially in summer, is to wear sunglasses (or EyKuver) anytime you are outside. Wear goggles when swimming to protect your eyes from pool chemicals and use eye drops to lubricate and moisturize your eyes.
Regardless of the season, it’s an indisputable fact that the sun’s UV rays can damage your eyes. Staying hydrated and eating a diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients can help support your long-term eye health, but wearing high quality sunglasses whenever you are outside is ultimately your best defense.