Health

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Eyes often neglected when protecting from the sun's rays

WE CAN be diligent about protecting our skin from the sun but we forget about safeguarding our eyes from its damaging rays.

Long-term exposure to sunlight increases the risk of a type of cataract and is also linked to pterygia, a growth on the surface of the eye.

However, sun can burn the eyes too and lead to over-exposure to ultraviolet light.

A day at the beach without proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn on the skin.

Reflected sunlight from water, and artificial light from sunbeds, is particularly dangerous. Always avoid looking directly at the sun.

Staring directly at the sun can permanently scar the retina, the area at the back of the eye responsible for vision.

Another risk to eyes is skin cancer, which can affect the eyelids and area around the eyes. Long-term exposure to the sun can increase this risk.

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can reduce the amount of UV rays reaching your face and eyes. Look for labels showing that sunglasses offer 100pc UV protection. Think about the sides of your eyes, and consider sunglasses with wide or wraparound arms.

If you are unable to wear sunglasses, wear a wide-brimmed hat. If you have suffered a sunburn on your eyelids, place a cold compress over your eyes for 15 minutes every hour until the burning has subsided.

Irish Independent

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