Summer Eye Care 101

What is your favorite outdoor activity in the summer? Are you a hiker or biker? Do you enjoy lounging on the beach? How about camping or swimming? Or, maybe, your ideal day is spent at home with a book, and no obligations at all!

No matter what you do, you'll want to monitor something that may not immediately come to mind: your eye health.

Sun protection for your eye health is key as you'll be outdoors, even at limited times during the day.

Summer Eye Care

There are two types of UV Rays. UV-A can hurt your central vision by damaging the part of the retina at the back of your eye. UV-B can hurt the front part of your eyes where the cornea and lens are, and can be even more damaging than UV-A rays.

The sun releases 3 types of radiation: the visible light that we can see, heat, and UV rays that are much stronger and can cause sunburns. Aside from protecting our skin with FSA eligible sunscreen, it’s also important to protect our eyes from the sun’s rays.

Some eye problems that UV rays can cause include:

  1. Cataract: clouding of the eye’s natural lens so that your eyes can focus the light we see.
  2. Macular Degeneration: leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
  3. Corneal Sunburn: long exposure to UV-B rays can cause intense pain and temporary vision loss.
  4. Pterygium: growth beginning on the white of the eye that may block vision.

UV Rays can come from many different directions. Aside from coming directly from the sun, they can also be reflected from the ground, water, sand, and other bright surfaces you come into contact with. Make sure to protect your eyes by taking the necessary precautions.

  • A hat or cap will limit about half of the UV rays that could reach your eyes.
  • Use eye wear that absorbs UV rays to give you the most protection. All types of eye wear, includingglasses andcontact lensesshould absorb UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • For UV protection in everyday eye wear, try UV-blocking lens materials, coatings, and photochromic lenses.

Everyone, including children, is at risk for eye damage from UV radiation. People who work or play out in the sun for long periods of time are at the greatest risk for vision loss. Anyone who has had cataract surgery, have certain retinal disorders, or are on certain medicines are also at greater risk. Medicines like tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics, and tranquilizers increase the eye’s sensitivity to light.

Shop for a whole range of sun protection products that are eligible with your Flexible Spending Account at S