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Be Sun-Wise With Your Eyes

The same sun rays that lead to skin cancer and premature aging of the skin are just as bad for your eyes. The culprit is ultraviolet (UV) rays and because May is National UV Awareness Month, we encourage everyone to be “sun-wise” with their eyes.

Unprotected exposure to UV radiation can cause photokeratitis, which is basically sunburn of the eyes marked by painful, red eyes and sensitivity to light. The symptoms usually clear up quickly and cause no permanent damage to the eyes; however, growing evidence suggests that long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts–serious eye conditions that can cause vision impairment or loss.

We suggest the following to protect the eyes from serious damage:

• If at all possible, limit your time in the sun

• Wear a wide-brimmed hat

• Wear sunglasses that filter 99% of UV rays

Don’t forget about children, children are especially susceptible to eye damage from the sun. The lenses in their eyes do not block as much UV radiation as in adults. Follow the same precautions as you would for an adult, but be sure to choose sunglasses that fit their smaller faces, have impact-resistant lenses, and have lenses large enough to shield the entire eye.

Dr. Stacie Nichols is the owner and practitioner of Davenport Vision Source located at 506 8th Street in Davenport, WA and is a member of Vision Source®. Founded in 1991, DAVENPORT VISION SOURCE is a member of Vision Source®, North America’s largest network of independent optometrists. With 3,1000+ practices and 4,000 members in the United States, Vision Source® comprises the most influential experts in the eye care industry. For more information, call 888-558-2020 or visit