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Remember to Protect Your Eyes During UV Safety Month

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July is UV Safety month, and UAB Callahan Eye Hospital & Clinics wants to remind you that your skin isn’t the only area you need to protect from UV rays – don’t forget about your eyes. Your eyes need adequate protection from UV rays year-round.

According to a national Sun Safety Survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses say they check the UV rating before buying. The good news is that you can easily protect yourself. In order to be eye smart in the sun, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following:

  • Wear sunglasses labeled "100% UV protection": Use only glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear a hat along with your sunglasses.
  • Know that clouds don't block UV light: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds.
  • Be extra careful in UV-intense conditions: Sunlight is strongest midday to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off of water.

Sunglasses Matter

“Picking a proper frame is key when picking a pair of sunglasses,” says Shilpa Register, OD, assistant professor with UAB Callahan Eye Hospital & Clinics. “You need to make sure the sunglasses protect against UVA and UVB rays, but you also want to ensure that the frame is big enough to give you adequate sun protection. Sunglasses that wrap around the eyes offer even better protection from the sun. Some sunglasses are also polarized, which is nice for reducing the reflection off of cars, the street, water, and any other reflective surface.”

Look for a pair of sunglasses that is labeled with “100% UV protection” or “UV400” to make sure you are getting the right type of protection. As Dr. Register mentions, remember to pick a wrap-around pair to avoid rays penetrating your eyes from the side. If you wear contact lenses, you still need a quality pair of glasses that blocks UV rays.

Remember the Kids

Since children tend to spend a lot of time outside, it is extremely important to protect them from the sun’s rays. It's best to keep children out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day. Make sure they wear sunglasses and hats whenever they are in the sun.

“Shielding yourself from UV light with sunglasses is just as important with your children,” says Krupa Patel, MD, assistant professor with the UAB Ophthalmology Division of Pediatrics. “Children tend to spend more time outside and even more now with it being summer and with current restrictions. It is important to have your children wear sunglasses to protect them from chronic UV damage, but how can you convince your child? Make the experience fun for them by having them pick out a pair they like from a reputable location, to ensure UV protection and a great fit. Also, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses together as you enjoy the sun safely.”

Callahan Eyewear is Here to Help

If you need a pair of sunglasses for you or your child, our team at Callahan Eyewear is here to help. Even if you simply have questions about general eye protection when it comes to your sunglasses, please call or text (205) 325-8227 or email callahaneyewear@uabmc.edu.