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July ushers in the hottest, sunniest weeks of the year (in the northern hemisphere) and marks a point mid-summer when UV-blocking practices should be in place to shield one’s eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) has designated July as UV Safety Month and has outlined UV-blocking practices to protect one’s eyes when directly exposed to the sun’s damaging rays during extended time outdoors.
UV Ray damage

  • Invest in sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation for the greatest eye protection. Contact UNC Ophthalmology’s optical shop at UNC Kittner Eye Center at 984-974-2039 to work with our staff and obtain UV-blocking prescription sunglasses. Use the AAO’s Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses page as an AAO-developed source of information.
  • Sand and Shore — The sun’s damaging rays at the coast and other shorelines can cause the eyes to sunburn when UV rays reflect off sand and the water. Individuals spending prolonged periods at the beach or lakeside on sunny days should remember to wear UV-blocking protective eyewear along with their sunscreen.
  • Snow Blindness — Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays reflected off ice and snow can cause this painful eye condition and risk temporary blindness over a period of hours. Snow skiers and snow boarders should be aware that high elevation as well as severe cold and dry weather increases risk of snow blindness.
  • Visit the AAO’s EyeSmart website for information developed by ophthalmologists on eye diseases and treatments, eye health news and tips for a lifetime of good eye health.

Early detection is key to detecting and diagnosing damage to your eyes caused by prolonged sun exposure. The AAO promotes heightened awareness of the long-term damage caused by prolonged exposure of eyes to bright sunlight, including increased risk of eye-blinding diseases and growths such as cataracts and eye cancer. At any point year-round, schedule your recurring diagnostic eye exam with UNC Ophthalmology by contacting at 984-974-2039.

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