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Sun Safety

| July 08, 2019
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Keep an Eye on Ultraviolet (UV) Safety

Eye medical doctors (ophthalmologists) caution us that too much exposure to UV light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataractgrowths on the eye, and cancer. Strong exposure to snow reflection can also quickly cause painful damage called snow blindness.

By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for potentially blinding eye diseases and tumors." It is important to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to protect your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure.

According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying. The good news is that you can easily protect yourself. In order to be eye smart in the sun, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following:

  1. Wear sunglasses labeled “100% UV protection"- Use only glasses that block both UV-A and UV-B rays and that are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection.
    • Choose wraparound styles so that the sun's rays can't enter from the side.
    • If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you'll still need sunglasses.
  2. Know that clouds don’t block UV light- The sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds. Sun damage to the eyes can occur any time of year, not just in summer.
  3. Be extra careful in UV-intense conditions- Sunlight is strongest mid-day to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off the water, ice or snow.
  4. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays- What is the difference between the rays?
    • UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.
    • UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.
      • What type of sunscreen should I use?  The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again and again.  Just make sure it offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant.
      • How do I treat a sunburn? It’s important to begin treating a sunburn as soon as possible. In addition to stopping further UV exposure, dermatologists recommend treating a sunburn with:
        • Cool baths to reduce the heat.
        • Moisturizer to help ease the discomfort caused by dryness. As soon as you get out of the bathtub, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then apply a moisturizer to trap the water in your skin.
        • Hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription to help ease discomfort.
        • Aspirin or ibuprofen. This can help reduce the swelling, redness and discomfort.
        • Drinking extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water prevents dehydration.
  5. Do not treat sunburns with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine)

If your skin blisters, you have a second-degree sunburn. Dermatologists recommend that you:

  • Allow the blisters to heal untouched.Blisters form to help your skin heal and protect you from infection.
  • If the blisters cover a large area, such as the entire back, or you have chills, a headache or a fever, seek immediate medical care.

With any sunburn, you should avoid the sun while your skin heals. Be sure to cover the sunburn every time you head outdoors.

A few additional summer safety tips

  • Protect yourself from the sun with shade and sunscreen.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Wear clothing that's loose and light.
  • Don't overdo — work, play, and exercise more lightly than usual.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat overexposure
  • Remember to have FUN!

 Signs to watch for are:

  • Very sweaty, muscle cramping or spasms
  • Feeling weak, tired, nauseous
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Clammy skin, pale, flushed
  • Vomiting or fainting

 What to do:

  • Rest in shaded or cool area
  • Drink an electrolyte beverage
  • Avoid carbonated or caffeinated beverages
  • If severe- ALWAYS call 911

Research sited from American Academy of Ophthalmology https://www.aao.org/

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