The hidden danger of eye sunburn

KSDK – This summer, many of you will be putting on sunscreen to protect your skin.

The same invisible ultraviolet rays that damage your skin are harmful to your eyes. It's a reminder that what you can't see can hurt you.

Musician Lee Maxwell spends a lot of time outdoors performing in the U-City Loop. On this sunny day, he's not wearing a hat or sunglasses to protect his eyes.

Too much sun can damage your eyes though, so grab some sunglasses and remember that not all sunglasses are created equally.

"The things you pick up at the gas station or the local flea market or hardware store, the coatings on there aren't guaranteed and some of them are sprayed on and after several cleanings, could come offering no UV protection whatsoever," Dave Seibel, an optometrist who works with the St. Louis Blues, said.

When it comes to sunglasses, Seibel recommends sticking with well-known name brands with lenses that block 100 percent of UV radiation – especially wraparound glasses.

"It comes around the sides to give you side-glare protection," Seibel said.

Dr. Seibel says any type of UV radiation can harm your eyes, and longterm exposure can lead to serious eye damage.

Chronic effects of UV overexposure include eye sunburn, skin cancer of the eyelids and advancing macular degeneration back at the retina.

Children often spend more time outdoors than adults, but frequently go without sunglasses. Seibel calls that a costly mistake.

"We have to constantly remember to ask kids to put on glasses," Seibel said.

More manufacturers are making sunglasses for younger and younger children.

Also remember to get an eye exam at least once a year.


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