While the sun provides multiple benefits, like stimulating vitamin D production for bone and muscle health, prolonged exposure to sunlight can also have its disadvantages, especially for our vision.
To start, a previous post explains how sun exposure can contribute to or accelerate signs of skin aging, such as uneven complexion and age spots. Such effects make sunscreen and chemicals like nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) essential for anti-aging and overall sun protection.
But besides the skin, eye health can also be compromised when you stay too long under the sun and expose yourself to harmful ultraviolet rays. Sun protection must, therefore, be holistic to reduce the risk of developing vision problems like dry eyes and cataract formation — here are a few ways to practice it.
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Wear the right pair of sunglasses
One of the simplest, most straightforward ways to shield your eyes from the harsh sun is to wear sunglasses. A pair of shades can act as a physical barrier against glare and UV rays while also protecting the sensitive skin around your eyes from sun damage.
Since there are many types of sunglasses available, make sure to choose the right pair for your vision needs. Even if you wear glasses to correct your vision, you can get prescription sunglasses from top brands with stylish frames, like Ray-Ban, Coach, and Oakley. Retailer LensCrafters explains that sunglass tints are available for single-vision, progressive, concave, and cylindrical lenses to provide both vision correction and sun protection.
Avoid staring at the sun
While a brief glance wouldn’t hurt, the extent of eye damage caused by staring directly at the sun for prolonged periods bears repeating because of false claims circulating on social media. For example, there have been posts encouraging sun gazing as a meditative practice that involves focusing on the sun.
However, health experts strongly advise against doing so, as exposure to direct sunlight can damage the retina and even cause permanent blindness. Even if you wear sunglasses while outdoors, avoid looking directly at the sun to minimize these eye health risks.
Don’t forget the hat
Aside from sunglasses, a hat can also be a protective accessory against sun damage. Similarly, you can also find sun hats in various designs to balance style and functionality whenever you’re outdoors.
Headwear company VimHue has released a wide range of women’s sun hats to suit your personal preferences and lifestyle needs. Not only do these caps come in patented designs that allow you to wear different hairstyles, but they are also made of lightweight, moisture-wicking, and UPF 50+ material for optimal sun protection and all-day comfort.
While the importance of hydration for health and well-being is already well-known, not many are aware that it can also influence eye health. For instance, staying under the sun can quickly dry the eyes out, with the dryness and discomfort worsening if you’re dehydrated to begin with.
So, whether going to the beach or simply walking outside, bring a water bottle to ensure you’re well-hydrated throughout the day. It also helps to limit your alcohol intake to stave off dehydration, and consult your optometrist about eye drops you can use to lubricate the eyes and provide immediate relief.
Overall, holistic sun protection also doesn’t mean you should lessen your time outdoors, as natural light can still improve your body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. The important part is to follow the tips mentioned above all year round to protect your vision and maintain overall eye health when spending time under the sun.
For more informative resources on health and wellness, continue reading Wellness Force.
Written by Ellen White, and published by the Wellness Force Media team.