Summer sun strategies: How does the sun impact our eyes?
This summer is hot, hot, hot! ☀️
The sun is working overtime this summer with some states getting into the triple digits! It’s crucial that you not only wear SPF to protect your skin, but it’s just as important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
What is UV light?
UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. Unlike visible light, it can’t be seen because it has a shorter wavelength. UV light includes UVC Rays, UVB Rays, UVA Rays, and Blue Light. Different types of lights are reflected from things such as screens and the sun.
Think about how different your vision feels (and how ouchy your eyes get) when you're looking at the sun bouncing off different surfaces: a sandy beach, the chrome of a car, a reflective mirror, or the water in the pool. We've all experienced that "yikes" moment when the sun jumps right into our eyeballs -- that's UV exposure at its finest.
Sunglasses are the BEST way to protect your eyes from UV exposure. That's just science! Over time, your eyes can majorly suffer from too much UV light.
What conditions and/or diseases can be caused by UV exposure?
There are a ton of conditions and/or diseases that can be caused by UV exposure, but some of the most crucial ones include:
- Photokeratitis: Also known as "eye sunburn." Being exposed to a significant amount of UV light in a few hours, such as if you spend the afternoon at the beach, you may experience red eyes, tearing, sensitivity to light, and a feeling that something is stuck in your eyes. Before you head to the beach make sure you grab a pair of AHI Bombs, which are designed for ultimate protection on the water.
- Cataracts: Prolonged sun exposure can increase your risk of cataracts, which cause the lens in the center of your eye to become cloudy and impair your vision.
- Macular Degeneration: A condition that occurs when the cells in the center of your retina begin to deteriorate—caused by high UV rays—which can affect your ability to see clearly. (Yikes!)
- Conjunctival Growths: These are growths that start to form on the conjunctiva (the white part of your eye). The problem is more likely to occur if you live in an area that is very sunny year-round or during the hot summer days.
- Dry Eyes: A very common condition that can affect people year-round, but the chances of dry eye increase in the summer. Dry eyes can make your eyes feel dry, itchy, and feel as though “there is something in your eye.”
- Increased Risk of Infection: This can occur at any time of year, although certain summer activities may increase your risk. In the summer, you might be outside more, such as camping or swimming, which can expose you to additional pathogens that can cause infections. (Pink eye, anyone?)
- Tired Eyes: The summer season may have you outdoors more, participating in activities, parties, and long summer nights. Summer activities can leave you short on sleep and cause tired eyes.
- Cancer: Melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell cancers can develop on your eyelids or on the skin around your eyes. Possible symptoms of eyelid cancer include eyelash loss, bleeding bumps, new spots on the eyelids that grow or have irregular borders, and chronic inflammation of the eyelids. Much like sun cancer, eye cancer can be prevented by wearing protection such as the BUZZ Bombs (bonus points: you look damn good at the same time!).
How do I protect my eyes from UV exposure?
There are some simple tactics that you can do every day to ensure that you lower your exposure to UV light.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: If you have the option to be in the shade, or limit your time outdoors, this can help lower your exposure to sunlight.
- Wear Sunglasses: Sunglasses that block out 100% of UV rays will help protect your eyes. Just like the MAGNUM, which has 100% UVA and UVB protection! (And yes, we're the sunglasses people, but that doesn't change science! Keeping your eyes protected is the BEST way to avoid damage or disease caused by UV rays.)
- Wear Hats: Doubling up on sunglasses and hats is a great way to protect your eyes from UV rays. You’re able to have shade protecting the top of your eyes as well as glasses protecting the front of your eyes.
- Wearing Protective Gear in Shade: Just because you’re in a “shady” spot doesn’t mean the UV rays aren’t reaching you. We suggest wearing your sunglasses and hats even in shaded areas.
- Drink Plenty of Water: You are more likely to become dehydrated in the summer sun. Dehydration affects your body’s natural ability to make tears so staying hydrated can help promote normal tear production and prevent dry eyes.
- Wear Goggles When Swimming: Jumping into a cool body of water (pool, ocean, lake, etc.) can feel great during a hot summer day, but chlorine, salt, and dirt can irritate your eyes and may even cause dry eye.
- Wear Sunscreen: Apply sunscreen on and around your eyelids to block the UV rays. Your eyelids are part of your body after all!
- Use Eye Drops: Dry eyes may increase in the summer, and lubricating eye drops may help.
- Wash Your Face: Washing your face as soon as you come in from outside can help remove allergens and decrease eye-related symptoms.
- Make an Eye Appointment: Be sure that you are following up with your optometrist for regular eye checkups, especially during August -- otherwise known as National Eye Exam Month!
It’s totally possible to have fun in the sun this summer—just make sure that you’re protecting your eyes from the glaring sun. Show off your Bomber Eyewear by tagging us on Instagram @bombereyewear!