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July is UV Safety Awareness Month
Get out the sunglasses

During the summer there is usually a lot of emphasis on protecting the skin from UV rays. But one must not forget about protecting the eyes—the most exposure to bright sunlight increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths on the eye, including cancer.

Sunlight is not the only culprit though—tanning beds offer a higher dose of UV rays than sunlight. This makes it important to protect the eyes from UV rays in all situations by wearing proper eye protection—either UV blocking sunglasses or appropriate tanning goggles. The hours between 9:00am-3:00pm standard time are the most hazardous for UV exposure in the United States, with UV rays being the greatest during late spring and early summer.

Here are some tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

  • Don’t focus on color or darkness of sunglass lenses: Select sunglasses that block UV rays. Don’t be deceived by color or cost.
  • Check for 100 percent UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.
  • Choose wrap-around styles: Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun’s rays cannot enter from the side.
  • Wear a hat: In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.
  • Don’t rely on contact lenses: Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, remember your sunglasses.
  • Don’t be fooled by clouds: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds.
  • Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever outside, and it is especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.
  • Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, can lead to solar retinopathy, damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.
  • Don’t forget the kids: Everyone is at risk, including children. Protect your children’s eyes with hats and sunglasses.

For more information on how Nebraska Safety Council/WorkWell helps promote health and safety, email Karen Rehm or call her at 402.483.2511 ext 104.