By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
“When you wake up in the morning and the light hurts your head – The first thing you do when you get up out of bed – Is hit that streets a-runnin’ and try to beat the masses – Now go get yourself some good sunglasses…”
During the summer we put a lot of emphasis on protecting skin from UV rays. But one must not forget about protecting the eyes – the most exposure to bright sunlight increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths on the eye including cancer.
July is UV safety awareness month. However, eyes are at risk to UV rays all year round.
Here are some tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
- Check for 100 percent UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.
- Choose wrap-around styles: Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.
- Wear a hat: In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.
- Don’t be fooled by clouds: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime.
- Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever you’re outside, and it’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.
- Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.
- Don’t forget the kids: Everyone is at risk, including children.
“Now, go out and get yourself some big black frames – With the glass so dark, they won’t even know your name – And the choice is up to you ‘cause they come in two classes – Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses…. Get the good ones!”