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5 Ways to Protect Your Eyes From the Sun

Created: 04/28/2010
Last Updated: 04/28/2010

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Whether you're beach bound in the summer or hitting the slopes in the winter, your eyes can suffer serious damage from UV rays. Just as we protect our skin from sunburns, we also need to make sure our eyes are protected as we enjoy outside activities.

Ways you can protect your eyes from sun damage include:

1. Understand ultraviolet radiation (UVR). There are three ranges of UVR: UV-C, UV-B and UV-A. Most eye damage is a result of UV-B rays, which some researchers suspect may contribute to cataract development and eye cancer.

2. Start early. Researchers estimate we receive 80 percent of our lifetime exposure to UVR rays before age 18. Additionally, children's eyes transmit more UVA rays to the retina than adults', increasing their exposure and risk of later eye damage.

3. Wear sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that transmit no more than one percent UVB and one percent UVA. The lenses should be dark and large enough to completely cover the eye to prevent sunlight from seeping through the sides of the glasses.

4. Get added protection with contact lenses. If you wear contacts, you might already be protecting your eyes. Some contact lenses provide UV ray protection, although the protection levels may vary. Class one UV-blockers provide the greatest measure of protection.

5. Wear hats. A wide brimmed hat can shade your eyes from the sun.

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