July is National UV Safety Month, a campaign created to raise awareness on the dangers of UV damage and the importance of sun protection. It is well-documented that long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays can increase the risks of premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, serious eye conditions (e.g., cataracts) and skin cancer. In honor of UV Safety Month, Dr. Ali Ghafouri of Arizona Oculoplastic Specialists shares his top tips on how to protect your eyes from the sun and reduce your risk of eye damage.
Tips to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun
- Wear sunglasses that are labeled 100 percent UV protection or UV400 whenever outdoors. Sunglasses labeled as such protect against both UVA (the rays responsible for premature aging) and UVB rays (the rays that are responsible for sunburns and can increase the risk of cancer). Opt for wrap-around glasses that block the sun from entering the eyes from the side. Remember that the sun never rests, so it’s important to continue wearing sunglasses even during cloudy, overcast weather.
- Sun protection is also important when traveling by car. Research show that car windows only block a percentage of UV rays.
- Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Make sure to apply it around the eyes (including the eyelids), on the ears, behind the ears and neck. Re-apply every two hours or as directed by the instruction label on your sunscreen bottle.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and eyes as much as possible.
- Seek shade whenever possible, especially during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Never look directly into the sun, as it can cause irreversible damage to the eyes.
- Make it a habit to check the labels of your medications, as certain medications cause photosensitivity (i.e., they make your eyes more susceptible to UV damage). If this applies to your medications, be extra diligent about sun protection.
- Check your skin once a month for suspicious moles or lesions. While some moles and lesions are benign, others may be signs of skin cancer. Early detection is crucial in treating skin cancer.
To learn more tips on how to protect your eyes and skin from the sun, or to discuss your treatment options for sun damage, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Ghafouri. Contact our office by calling (480) 905-1010 or emailing us today.