By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

“When you wake up in the morning and the light is hurt 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” – ZZ Top Listen while you read:

During the summer we put a lot of emphasis on protecting skin from UV rays and it is important. But we cannot forget about protecting the eyes — the most exposure to bright sunlight increases the risk of developing these four conditions: cataracts, macular degeneration, growths on the eye and cancer.

On the job eye protection is not just for work, it is even during our day-to-day activities. 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 cannot enter from the side.

Wear a hat. In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.

Do not 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 outside, and it is 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.

Speaking of eyes, let us not forget that August is Cataract Awareness Month: