Eye strain can be a serious problem, causing headaches, blurred vision, and even more serious problems such as cataracts. It can be the worst during the hot summer months, when people are outside in the bright sun more often, but it can happen at any time of the year. Sunlight can be pleasant on the skin and chase away gloomy clouds, but it can cause serious damage to eyes over time. At De Anza Vision Center we recommend using as many preventive measures as possible to prevent sun-related problems before they start.

Optometrist Recommends Sun Protection Strategies

Much like getting a sun tan is the result of multiple days exposed to solar rays, damage to the eyes is cumulative. The more ways you take action to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them from the sun’s rays, the better your eye health will be. Here are some of the methods we recommend:

Tint Your Windows

Effectively blocking the glare from the sun is crucial for your sun protection plan. Keeping blinds or drapes closed at all times does the job in your home or office, but it’s gloomy and often causes you to waste electricity by forcing you to turn on the lights for close work. Tinting your windows is a much better solution. You’ll still be able to work using natural light, yet the most harmful of the sun’s rays will be blocked from your eyes. For the best results, tint the windows in your home, office, and automobile to give protection to the largest number of environments. As a bonus, tinting windows can give you energy savings. Air conditioners don’t have to work as hard, and car interiors are generally cooler inside, even when sitting on a hot day.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t just a summer fashion statement — they’re a serious part of your defense against eye damage from the sun. Sunglasses with gray, green, or brown lenses are the most effective, allowing you to distinguish colors in traffic lights while blocking the most dangerous of the sun’s rays. Choose a pair that blocks 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Even better, find a pair that guards against HEV light. Small sunglasses do you no good. Pick a pair with large lenses that cover your eye, eyebrow, and the cheek below. Wraparound designs are ideal for coverage. Choose polarized lenses to reduce glare while driving, boating, and in other bright situations.

Other Defenses

Wear a hat with a brim of at least 3 inches. This can block up to half of the UV light from reaching your eyes. Baseball caps and sun visors can do the job, as well.

Wear sunscreen to protect the skin around your eyes.

Seek shelter as much as possible when the sun is the strongest, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.