We Only Have One Set of Eyes—Protect Them



Summer months in the Windy City are loaded with fun. There are, however, precautions we should take to avoid damage to our skin and eyes while we are out in the summer sun. The skin around our eyes is fairly thin and becomes thinner with age as it loses elasticity, and all areas of the eyes are at risk of damage from UV rays. Overexposure to UV rays in our youth may set us up for eye-related complications later in life.

The Sun and Our Eyes

Although the eye has natural defenses, cumulative effects of UV absorption may cause acute damage such as corneal inflammation, or more chronic inflammatory conditions like cortical cataracts. Free radical damage from the sun has also been linked to degenerative changes in the macula. Regular preventative eye health visits to an optometrist or ophthalmologist can help with early detection and/or management of eye conditions that may be linked to UV damage.

• Visible light occurs in the 400 to 500 nanometer (nm) range, followed by infrared. The UV spectrum of the sun’s rays is divided into three regions:

• UVC: 100 to 280 nm—This is generally absorbed by ozone in the atmosphere. It can be artificially created with welding and germicidal lamps. Corneal injuries caused by these rays are referred to as welder’s arc or burn.

• UVB: 280 to 315 nm—This end of the spectrum includes burning rays that may affect the entire eye and can be a contributing factor to cataracts.

• UVA: 316 to 400 nm—This end of the spectrum may be associated more with general inflammation of the eye and the free radical damage affecting the macula of the eye. The macula is the oval-shaped, highly pigmented yellow spot near the center of the retina.

Simple Steps

When enjoying the sun, take these simple precautions to help protect eyes from damage:

•  Be conservative with time spent in the sun. Our bodies need sun to make vitamin D, but watch the length of exposure in late morning and late afternoon.

• Take precautions with well-fitted sunglasses. Up to 45 percent of UV rays can still reach the eyes, even with 100 percent UVA- and UVB-blocking lenses.

• If wearing prescriptive lenses, consider UV-blocking contact lenses to supplement eye protection. Be sure to look for higher levels of UV-blocking protection in the brand of lenses, especially with lighter-colored eyes.

• Wear a comfortably fitting, wide-brim hat.

• Apply organic virgin coconut oil on the face and around the eyes as a natural skin protector for to its inherent anti-inflammatory benefits.

• Take a high-quality omega-3 fish oil supplement to help alleviate free radical damage to the internal eye structures. It also helps support a healthy tear layer covering the cornea.

• Stay hydrated with water, keep the body more alkaline and enjoy some fun in the sun.


Dr. Millicent Knight is an optometrist, certified health coach, and a fellow in the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. For more information, call 847-570-9355 or visit EyeAndWellness.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Start the New Year with 
Positivity and Self-Care

As we begin to make plans for the new year, lets make a positive outlook a priority.

Basic Concepts for Adoption Awareness Month

Our state and federal officials long ago declared November as Adoption Awareness Month, a time when families can learn about resources for older youth and about the many types of adoption available.

3 Preventive Herbs for Cold and Flu Season

The smell of fall is in the air, with leaves dropping, rain falling and temperatures cooling. The holidays are coming, people are shopping, feeling stressed and spending more time indoors—a perfect breeding ground for cold and flu viruses.

thriveMD

When we give our body the tools and treatments to function as optimally and efficiently as possible, health and well-being are natural outcomes.

Floating Away Stress

Sensory isolation in a floatation tank is known for inducing deep relaxation with subsequent improved health.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

BG Organic Salon’s “Angels” Protect Clients from Toxins

BG Organic Salon, on Chicago’s northwest side, is offering new, all-organic spa services that include classic facials, youth firming facials and waxing.

#ChicagoKidsYoga Fest: A Chat with Jen Robertson

Jen Robertson, event director for the first Chicago Kids Yoga Fest, talks about yoga for children and families.

Using Ions to Improve Overall Health

We talked with Yasmine Ariel of Quantum Tech USA about the basics of the body’s electromagnetic system and how it affects our overall health.

Glenview’s Mingle Juice Bar Offers Tasty Goodness

Mingle Juice Bar has opened at the Glen Town Center, 1830 Tower Drive, in Glenview, serving healthy, delicious, reasonably priced refreshments.

Fantastic Foods

There are two major players that assist our digestive power, and both are found in fermented foods: probiotics and enzymes.

You Could be Driving a Tesla by October

The Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) is raffling a 2014 Tesla Model S and Bosch home charger.