Sunscreen? Check. Comfy walking shoes? Check. Protective eyewear? Huh? It’s easy to forget about your eyes when you’re heading outdoors to enjoy summertime in southern California. But whether you’re spending your day driving along the coast, shopping, or hitting the trail with your favorite four-legged family member, your eyes could use a little attention.
Mitchell C. Latter, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist who has 35 years of experience in providing stellar eye care for residents in and around the communities of South Pasadena and Bellflower, California. Read what this top-rated specialist has to say about caring for your eyes during the summer.
Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement
By preventing exposure to harmful UV light, sunglasses provide for your eyes the same protection that sunscreen provides for your skin. In the case of your eyes, prolonged exposure to sunshine can increase your risk of developing cataracts and other sight-threatening conditions.
Most individuals understand the dangers of looking directly at the sun, but sunshine glinting off the water, sand, or concrete can also cause problems. Donning a pair of sunglasses whenever you head outdoors can help preserve your vision and prevent painful conditions such as photokeratitis.
What is photokeratitis?
Best described as a type of sunburn affecting the surface tissue and lens of your eyes, this painful condition can cause:
- Significant eye pain
- Eye redness and excessive tearing
- Inflammation and swelling of the eyes
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Visual changes such as blurring or seeing halos
Rarely, photokeratitis can lead to temporary color blindness and vision loss and is often referred to as “snow-blindness.”
Even on cloudy days or in the cool of the morning and early evening, exposure to UV radiation can affect your eyes.
Check the UV rating
No matter how stylish, sunglasses without adequate UV protection won’t protect your eyes. Choose instead lenses that are 100% UV protective against both UVA and UVB light. This may also be designated as UV 400 on the label. Polarized lenses also help reduce glare bouncing off water, sand, and other reflective surfaces.
Note that Dr. Latter can also fit you with 100% UV protective sunglasses in prescription strength if you regularly wear eyeglasses rather than contact lenses.
Other ways to protect your eyes from the summer sun include:
- Wearing a hat with a floppy brim, along with sunglasses
- Selecting wraparound sound glasses for an extra measure of protection
- Using swim goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine and other chemicals in the water
- Wearing protective eyewear for tasks like lawn mowing, hedge trimming, etc.
Summer temps and wind can also dry and irritate eyes. For instant relief, try preservative-free artificial tears to soothe eye irritation.
For the highest quality eye care throughout the year, schedule an appointment with Dr. Latter. Call the office or request an appointment online.