Protect your eyes from the summer sun | Health info

By By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter, health day reporter

(Health Day)

SUNDAY, May 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — You probably slather on sunscreen to protect your skin, but your eyes also need protection from the sun’s rays.

Wearing sunglasses can be protective and reduce your risk of developing a condition called photokeratitis.

When your cornea — the surface of your eye — is exposed to intense ultraviolet light, you can develop this painful condition, said Dr. Richard Hession, assistant professor of ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

With photokeratitis, the outermost layer of the cornea peels off and falls off, causing severe pain to the very sensitive nerve endings in the eye, he said.

Just spending a lot of time in the sun is unlikely to cause photokeratitis, but it can happen when there are also glare from the sun on the water.

Another source is UV rays from tanning beds. Welders and others who work with bright light are most at risk.

That’s why Hession recommends that people always wear the eye protection required for their job. For those enjoying the summer sun, it’s important to wear SPF 30 sunscreen on exposed skin, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, he said in a press release from the center. Eye protection also helps protect the sensitive skin around the eyes from cancer.

You can still take care of your eyes with an eye exam. For children, this includes screening by a pediatrician with follow-up by an ophthalmologist if a potential problem is detected.

Most teens and adults who need glasses or contacts will receive a full dilated eye exam from their optometrist or ophthalmologist when they go to update their prescriptions.

All adults, even those with no apparent vision problems, should have a comprehensive eye exam starting at age 40.

Several conditions can develop and progress without symptoms as a person ages. This includes glaucoma, a disease that progressively damages the optic nerve, leading to loss of peripheral vision and eventually total blindness. Patients can experience significant vision loss from glaucoma before they are diagnosed.

SOURCE: UT Southwestern Medical Center, press release, May 25, 2022

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