Living in Southwest Florida, it’s hard not to be exposed to the sun’s harmful rays; however, daily sun protection is essential for protecting sensitive skin cells from photodamage and your eyes from serious eye conditions.
July is UV Safety Month, and local ophthalmologist Dr. Jonathan Frantz, medical director of Florida Eye Health, is joining doctors across the nation in urging Americans to protect their skin and eyes. “During the summer months the level of ultraviolet radiation is three times greater than in the winter,” said Dr. Frantz.
Suntans and sunburns are marks of skin injury. They permanently damage your skin. In addition, the damage is additive. The more sunburns that you get as a child, the greater your risk of getting skin cancer as an adult.
The Obagi Nu-Derm Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35, which is available through the Aesthetic & Cosmetic Laser Center at Florida Eye Health, delivers the most effective broad-spectrum protection available and is the best defense against both UVB and deep tissue-damaging UVA rays. “Ideal for everyday use, it’s the only sunscreen formulated to work synergistically with the Obagi Nu-Derm Skin Health Restoration System, a proven regimen that works deep within the cell layers of the epidermis and dermis, fighting back against aging and sun exposure,” said Eva Maloney, an esthetician at Florida Eye Health. She said the results are restored color balance, smoothness and elasticity.
“Recent studies have shown that prolonged exposure to the sun’s invisible, high energy ultraviolet rays without protection may also cause eye conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration,” said Dr. Frantz.
Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat are the best defense system for your eyes against sunlight and harmful UV rays. But what type of sunglasses should you buy? “The most important thing is to purchase sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays,” said Dr. Frantz. “Don’t be misled by the color of the lens or the price tag dangling from the frame.”
The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens. UV protection can come from adding chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing or from a chemical coating applied to the lens surface.
In addition to the damage caused by repeated sun exposure overtime, you need to protect your eyes from acute damage caused by a single day in the sun. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light reflected off sand or pavement can burn the eye’s surface. Similar to sunburns, eye surface burns usually disappear within a couple of days, but may lead to further complications later in life.