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Questions & Answers About Sun Protection

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Dr. Nguyen Answers Your Questions About Sun Protection

Q: When can a person do to protect herself from sun exposure?

During the summer when sun exposure is prevalent, individuals who intend on spending a majority of the day outdoors should consider wearing hats and sunglasses in addition to applying sunscreen. Another important way is to limit your exposure between the hours of 10am to 4pm when UV light is the strongest and seek shade.

Q: What exactly are “ultraviolet rays?”

Ultraviolet rays are a category of light waves that are shorter in wavelength than visible light, making them invisible to the human eye. Most ultraviolet rays that people encounter come from the sun but other sources include tanning booths, black lights, and even some types of lasers.

Q: How can people protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays?

Applying sunscreens with a SPF of 30 or higher, seeking shade when possible, protecting your skin with clothing, and wearing sunglasses that block UV rays are ways people can protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays.

Q: Are sunglasses an important part of a sun protection plan?

Absolutely! Other than protecting the skin around the eyes, protecting your eyes against the sun will help prevent your chances of developing certain eye diseases.

Q: What type of sunglasses best protect from UV rays?

Not all sunglasses are made equal. Be sure to select sunglasses that label UV absorption up to 400nm or label themselves as meeting ANSI UV requirements. These block at least 99% of harmful UV rays.

Q: I have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?

Sunlight is the main source of blue light but additional sources include display screens of computers, electronic notebooks and our smartphones! Many individuals are unaware that this light can increase your risk of macular degeneration and contributes to the digital eye strain experienced on a regular basis.

What this means, in this digital age, is that we are constantly exposed to light that can affect our eyes in harmful ways. We often think of protecting our eyes outdoors but we forget about taking precautions to do the same while indoors.

Q: I’ve heard of getting my skin sunburned, but can your eyes also get sunburned?

Our eyes can also get sunburned and we can be completely unaware of it. If you’ve spent a lengthy amount of time outdoors and your eyes are watering, itchy, sensitive to light, or dry, it’s likely your eyes have been sunburned.

Q: Do darker sunglasses mean better sun protection?

Darker sunglasses without UV protection can actually be more dangerous because they cause the pupil to enlarge and allow more UV to enter. Be sure to select a pair that indicates UV protection.

Q: Does having a prescription make it harder to get the right sunglasses?

Almost all frames can be made into prescription sunglasses. Selecting photochromic lenses which darken when exposed to UV rays or attaching clip-ons to your regular glasses are also excellent options.