Summer is almost here! But while you’re enjoying the glorious sunshine, it’s important to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Too much exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun can increase your chances of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, corneal burns and skin cancer on and around the eyelids.

However, there are ways to enjoy spending time outside and still protect your eyes:

Wear sunglasses: One of the main things you can do to prevent damage from UV rays is to wear sunglasses whenever you are out in the sun. It is important to make sure that your sunglasses provide 100% UVA and UVB protection. Oversized or wraparound sunglasses provide the best coverage. If you cycle, then cycling sunglasses will protect your eyes from the glare of the sun as well as from any flying dirt or debris.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat: A hat with at least a three-inch brim and tightly woven fabric can block as much as half of all UV rays from your eyes and eyelids. It is especially helpful if you will be spending time outside where shade is not available.

Use sunscreen: Excess exposure to the sun is one of the main risk factors for developing skin cancer. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, to protect your eyes when you need to take off your shades and be sure to re-apply it every couple of hours.

Avoid the sun at the strongest times of the day: The sun is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, try to avoid sun exposure during this time of the day. If you are outside during peak times, try to find shade. Even if there are clouds, the sun’s rays can pass through them, so eye protection is important even when it’s hazy or cloudy.

It is a common misconception that sun damage only occurs during the summer, but the sun can cause damage to the eyes regardless of the season. Make sure you safeguard your eyes by implementing sun protection into your daily routine and stick to it all year round.

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