Sunglasses and Sunscreen…It’s That Time of Year
As most of us are aware, spring and summer are just around
the corner. Some of us may have already
experienced some of the sun’s harmful rays with either sunburns or squinting
eyes that come from the oftentimes painful glare of the sun this season. As such, let this be a good reminder of how
important sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, and protective clothing are during this
busy upcoming outdoor time of year.
How does UV radiation affect you? Overexposure to UV radiation has negative
health effects which range from short-term effects such as sunburn, to
long-term effects, such as skin cancer. Every year in the U.S. over one million people are diagnosed with skin
cancer, and as a result of skin cancer, one person dies every hour. Overexposure to UV radiation can also cause
eye cataracts, eye damage, skin aging, growths on the skin, and suppression of
the immune system.
Who is at risk? Although the sun can adversely affect everyone, some people are at
higher risk for skin cancer when overexposed to UV radiation. People who are at the highest risk for skin
cancer are those who spend excessive amounts of time in the sun, as well as
those who get sunburns easily or frequently. Even though the risk of skin cancer is not equal for all people,
everyone should take precautions. It is
also important to remember that everyone is equally at risk for eye damage due
to overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. During the summer months the level of
ultraviolet radiation is three times greater than in the winter.” With this being said, The American Academy of
Dermatology recommends selecting a sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher every day. It is also important to find a sunscreen described
as being broad spectrum. Broad spectrum
refers to a sunscreen that can protect from both UV-A and UV-B rays alike.
Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats are also recommended. This is the best defense system for your eyes
and face against sunlight and harmful UV rays. To be effective, both must be worn every time you are outside for
prolonged periods of time, even when it is overcast. Again, dermatologists recommend sunscreen
every day of the year.
As we now know how to shop for the best sunscreen, we should
also know how to shop for the best sunglasses. It is important to purchase sunglasses which
block 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. Do not be misled by the color of the lens or the price tag dangling from
the frame. The ability to block UV light
is not dependent on the darkness of the lens. UV protection can come from adding chemicals to the lens material during
manufacturing or from a chemical coating applied to the lens surface.
The following steps can also greatly reduce your risk of
Limit your time in the sun between 10AM and 4PM
Whenever possible, seek shade
Wear UV protective sunglasses
Wear a wide-brimmed hat and if possible, tightly
woven, full-length clothing
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a 30 SPF or
Avoid sunlamps and tanning salons
Watch for the UV Index daily. UV Index reports can be found in local
newspapers, on television, or on the Web at the US National Weather Service,
the World Health Organization, and The Weather Channel.