As summer nears an end, many individuals have spent the last three months hearing about the importance of sunscreen to avoid being sunburn and the long-term effects of skin cancer. Something that usually gets missed is the need to protect your eyes from the sun from long-term and sometimes permanent damage.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are invisible rays of light that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. These rays of light can be the cause of skin cancer as well as serious eye diseases when absorbed by your eyes. The reason for this is because the UV light can cause a reaction in your eye tissue. When you go years without the proper protection, your eyes and surrounding skin tissues will eventually break down and disease will occur. Once this happens, it cannot be healed or reversed.

UV rays are the largest culprit of cataracts, which is the clouding of the eye and causes blurring or dimming of the vision. Skin cancer can also be found on eyelids and facial skin around the eye; areas that typically don t see sunscreen. Age-related macular degeneration which is the deterioration of the eye s macula, or sensitive center of the retina is also a disease that can be enhanced when proper protection is not taken for protecting the eyes and the area of skin around the eye.

Your eyes do have some natural defense against UV rays, and these defenses are squinting or tearing of your eyes due to the bright outdoor light. Even if you wear sunglasses every day, rain or shine, you still may not be doing enough to protect your eyes from the extremely dangerous UV rays from the sun. Research has found that the best pair of sunglasses you can get are at least UV400. If you aren t sure about your current sunglasses, check the label or contact your eyecare professional. Wearing wide brimmed hats and keeping your eyes and face shaded is also a great way to protect your eyes. If you have already suffered a sunburn, place a cold compress over your eyes for 15 minutes every hour. And like most of us already know, aloe is another great soother for sunburn and can be applied over the eyelids if needed.

Prevention is also another great method to avoiding eye disease. Getting regular eye exams is vital to the health of your eye and is proven to be the best way to keep eye diseases at bay and you seeing the world. There are several companies out there that are affordable and can keep your eyecare costs down. Check out our side-by-side comparison of some of the top vision care providers available. You will be able to locate eyecare providers in your area as well as get quotes on what it would cost you and your family. Eye health is a part of your physical health and is crucial to you continuing to living a long, healthy life.

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