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Eye Health: Five ways to keep your eyes safe in the summer sun

By Dr. Dawn Stratton
Special to KyForward

From bike rides and hikes, to beach vacations, and time at the pool or ballpark, our eyes experience an abundant amount of sun exposure during the summertime. You can protect your skin with sunscreen on these bright days, but how can you protect your eyes?

In the first of a two-part series on summer eye care, five ways to keep your eyes safe in the sun:

— Wear sunglasses that offer ultraviolet protection. Look for a pair that protects from 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. A and B rays penetrate the cornea and damage the lens & retina, leading to increased risk for cataract and macular degeneration. Don’t feel as if you have to spend a lot of money for the protection; many inexpensive brands of sunglasses offer UV protection.

— Consider buying sunglasses with larger lenses. Large lenses and/or close-fitting wraparound styles protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Larger lenses also prevent eyes from being overexposed to reflected UV rays (from the sand or water), which can also be harmful.

— Don’t let cloudy days fool you. On overcast days, your eyes can still be exposed to UV. Wear your shades even when it seems like the sun isn’t shining as brightly.

— Wear a hat. Lower your risk of being exposed by wearing a hat with a brim at least three inches wide. The combination of a hat and a pair of good quality shades significantly decreases UV exposure.

— Moisturize your eyes. Just like your skin, eyes can easily dry out during the summer. I suggest using eye drops to help maintain moisture.


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Dr. Dawn Stratton is the founder of Stratton Eyes. She is a graduate of Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and earned her Doctor of Optometry in 1994. Based in Lexington, Dr. Stratton is a member of American Optometric Association, the Kentucky Optometric Association, the National Association of Professional Women and the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists. She also provides eye exams for patients at the Hope Center, Room at the Inn and The Nest. Visit Stratton-Eyes.com for more information or call 859-245-2020 or email office@strattoneyes.com. You can also find the office on Facebook and on Twitter @StrattonEyes.

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