July is UV Safety Month, and this can serve as a reminder of the importance to enjoy the outdoors safely. UV light (or ultraviolet light) is a type of electromagnetic radiation that originates from the sun and reaches Earth. UV light is different from visible light rays, which are longer and can be seen by the human eye. The sun emits damaging radiation known as UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. Both have shorter wavelengths (unable to be seen by the human eye) and can reach the exterior of your skin. Although UVA rays are the most powerful category of UV light and can penetrate into the middle layers of the skin. Moreover, UVA light is present during all hours of daylight in every season which also can seep through cloud coverage and glass.
Damage by UV Rays –
UV rays may cause serious damage if you allow excessive sun exposure to skin without using protection. Although UVA rays are the rays that tan skin, but also are the common cause of aging in the skin—including wrinkles and fine lines. The UV rays have the ability to pass through the cornea and reach the natural lens and then pass through to the retina (in the back of the eye). Prolonged exposure to the sun without eye protection may also contribute to temporary vision loss.
While Outdoors –
There are several precautions that can be taken to stay safe while enjoying the sunshine. You can dramatically decrease the risk of UV ray damage by making the following part of your normal routine:
- Wear sunglasses that are labeled “100% UV protection” or “UV400”. They should also block both types of UV rays.
- Wear a hat to protect the delicate skin on your face. (This also helps avoiding signs of premature aging and may prevent skin cancer.)
- Always use sunscreen (broad or full spectrum/minimum SPF 15) while outdoors. Apply regularly and increase the rate of sunscreen applications if swimming/sweating.
- Spend time in the shade, especially if you are outside during peak hours. Note: UV rays are most intense between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
If you are experiencing vision changes or if you are in need of your annual comprehensive eye exam, call Ophthalmic Specialists of Michigan today at 1-800-237-EYES (3937). We have three (3) convenient locations to serve you in Dearborn, Livonia and Madison Heights.
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