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Protecting Your Eyes Year Round

2013 January 15

By Lina Younes

Recently I took my mother to the ophthalmologist for her check-up.  She has developed several eye conditions related to the process of aging and to extended sun exposure. Cataracts and macular degeneration are just some of the conditions that can develop due to ultraviolet radiation and aging. Having spent most of her life in Puerto Rico it is very difficult to escape those powerful ultraviolet rays!  As far as I remember she has always worn sunglasses.  In her youth, it was mostly for fashion purposes. In her later years, she has been wearing prescription sunglasses. Yet the prolonged exposure to UV radiation has taken its toll on her eyes over the years.

Originally, I thought that you needed to protect your eyes mostly in the summertime. As I have read more on the issue, I’ve realized that since ultraviolet radiation does not “take a break” during the winter months, you really have to protect your eyes even if it’s cold and dreary outside.

Did you know that snow and ice absorb more light than water? Thus, you need to protect yourself from UV radiation in wintry conditions or while having fun on sunny slopes as well. Have you heard of the temporary disorder called snow blindness or photokeratitis? Do you recall the recent news story of the news reporter who became temporarily blind because he had actually sunburnt his eyes while out in the water for an extended time?

The fact is that we have to be more vigilant in order to protect our skin and eyes from ultraviolet radiation regardless of our complexion or the time of year. Do you have any sun safety tips that you would like to share with us?

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. Master Melvin M. Lusterio permalink
    January 16, 2013

    The Good Force be with you!

    Hi, Lina, thanks for the info! Wear sunglasses when there is too much sun when you want to go outside. This is a simple protection for our eyes.

    Live forever and prosper!

  2. Lina-EPA permalink*
    January 17, 2013

    Thanks, Master Lusterio
    Hope all is well.
    Lina-EPA

  3. Graham Street permalink
    January 17, 2013

    Great article Lina. I recently experienced this temporary blindness after snowshowing for a couple of hours. There was even a thin overcast layer of clouds, the sun didnt seem bright at all…but when I walked into the house, I could barely see! I feel fortunate that this only lasted a few hours in my case.

    Snow + ice = extreme light!

  4. Marina Arnold permalink
    January 18, 2013

    I preach not only sunscreen everyday but sunglasses everyday including those overcast, cloudy days.
    Best to wear wrap around sunglasses, to give the periphery protection as well. Hats are always a great way to add to that shade, with at least a 3″ brim all the way around. Yes, true that light eyes are more sensitive but know that all of us with dark eyes need to protect our eyes just as much!
    If the aging process doesn’t get us the UV Rays will!

    CHEERS TO LOOKING COOL IN YOUR SHADES, AND GET THOSE POLARIZED!!

  5. Aron Smith permalink
    January 21, 2013

    Good one Lina! I experience a burning sensation in my eyes during summer especially when my eyes are too much exposed to sunlight. This could be a problem of dry eye, as I experience the same while using computer for a long time. Wearing sunglasses is a decent way to protect our eyes from sun. Drinking a lot of water can also help avoid dry eye Hope your mom is alright now!

  6. Lina-EPA permalink*
    January 23, 2013

    Thank you for all your comments. Yes, those powerful UV rays are out there everyday of the year! So, we need to protect our eyes AND, skin. Yes, drinking water is very important, too! Dehydration can be a problem with the elderly since we all loose the sense of thirst as part of the aging process.

    Let’s keep the conversation going!

  7. Asn Broker permalink
    April 16, 2013

    I like your article.It help me who live in thailand where have a high UV and sunray. Now I know about sunglasses can protect my eyes. Perhap thai people should to know about it. I want to translate and share this article to thailand. I Hope you will not mind.

    Thank you Lina
    Asn Broker from thailand.

  8. OnionBD permalink
    August 23, 2013

    Thanks for advice i think it’s can be change country wise or place wise.

  9. Darrell James permalink
    May 19, 2014

    Great article Lina, as a visually impaired person I wear sunglasses every day and often have to explain why to others who make fun on a cloudy day. I recommend that everyone protects their eyes, going blind even temporarily is a terrible thing. I had to give up my profession as a personal trainer and after a few dark years have found my way again thanks which helped me as an athlete overcome adversity.

    Please keep spreading the message to protect your eyes.

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