May Invites us to Look at Ultraviolet Light
May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month! The timing couldn’t be more perfect, because many people already have this on their mind – they just might not know it. When we think of UV light, we may recognize that sunlight is involved. It has also become more widely known that tanning beds use UV light. Ultraviolet rays of light are good in some ways. They warm the skin and can promote optimal vitamin D production. However, anything more than a few minutes of sunshine early in the morning and we may experience troubling side effects of UV light.
Some of the most common consequences of UV exposure occur on the skin. The first is an uncomfortable sunburn. Over time, though, many people realize that those years of maintaining a “healthy glow” have come back to haunt them. UV damage affects skin cells that live beneath the surface. That is why we notice concerns like sunspots on the arms and face, leather skin, and skin cancer as we get older. You know how else UV damage may appear? As cataracts or cancer of the eye.
On a Brighter Note
We don’t like to spend any more time than absolutely necessary discussing the downside of eye disease. What is important to know is that the eyes are as susceptible to excess UV exposure as the skin. In fact, the skin on the eyelids is particularly vulnerable. According to research, between 5% and 10% of people who get skin cancer develop this disease on the eyelid. One might think that this is because the skin around the eyes is so delicate. Additional studies show another potential reason.
As you head into summer, one of the matters that may be on your mind is which sunscreen to use on those days at the pool, lake, or beach. In one study performed at the University of Liverpool, scientists discovered that, when asked to apply sunscreen, the area of the face most often missed was the eyes and the bridge of the nose. This is essential data for all of us because it allows us to see where we can improve in the area of taking care of our skin and long-term health.
UV light can damage the skin around the eyes as well as the structures of the eye. In addition to applying sunscreen and wearing quality sunglass lenses, we encourage folks in our area to obtain a comprehensive eye exam every year. We’d love to see you! Schedule your visit to our Pasadena, TX office at (713) 473-5715.