Category : sun

The Song Says “My Brown-Eyed Girl,” Not “My Sun-Blind Girl” (A Safety Sean Update)

Good Afternoon All,

Today we have the 2nd part of our summer health issue on the effects of the sun, which describes the damage that occurs to the eyes after overexposure to the sun. This information and more can be found on the Livestrong web site which is www.livestrong.com.

How the Sun Damages Our Eyes

Most people know that the sun may cause skin cancer or dark liver spots that appear on the skin with age and lather on sunscreen while working in the yard or playing on the beach. This benefits your skin and overall health, but learning to protect your eyes from the sun will help keep them healthy as well.

Surface Damage

People who have frequent or excessive exposure to direct sunlight have a greater risk of developing growths on the surface of the eye, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A pinguecula forms on the white of the eye, and these growths have a thick, fibrous appearance. Both types of growths may cause irritation, especially if they grow onto the cornea, the front of the eye. If a pinguecula or pteryguim grows to an extent that it causes pain or changes in vision, an eye surgeon may have to remove the growth.

Cataracts

The natural lens of the eye plays an important role in good vision. As a part of natural aging the lens may turn yellow and harden, a condition known as cataracts. The aging process of the eye speeds up with frequent sun exposure. Doctors can remove cataracts easily with surgery, though slowing down the aging process may reduce the need for cataract surgery.

Macular Degeneration

The retina lines the back of the eye, and is made of light sensitive nerves that relay visual images to the brain. The macula is a spot on the retina with the responsibility for clear central vision. If the macula has damage the central vision turns blurry, a condition called macular degeneration. People who have frequent sun exposure may develop macular degeneration, and according to the Wisconsin Dept of Health Services, exposure to sunlight may accelerate the condition.

Prevention

Anyone who works or spends a number of hours outside each day should wear sunglasses, preferably with ultraviolet protection in the lenses, recommends the U.S. EPA. Hats that shade the face and eyes will also help prevent sun damage to the eyes. Children can contract damage from the sun, so they should wear hats and gloves as well. This prevents immediate damage, but will also encourage them to protect their eyes as they get older.

Warnings

Staring directly into the sun can damage the cornea or the retina, possibly causing permanent vision loss. Reflections from the water, snow or other surfaces can also increase the risks of sun damage to the eye. Wear sun glasses and eye protecting hats, even on cloudy days since ultraviolet rays cause damage even when the sun is not out.

SAFETY: The More You Know The Less It Hurts

Until next time,

Safety Sean


Rock Lobster: Good Song, Bad Look (A Safety Sean Update)

Good Morning All,

Happy Monday. Mondays are the first chance to get everything done that you could not get finished last week. With the first hot days under our belts and summer on the way, I wanted to take a moment and address a topic that came up in a recent conversation: sunscreen.

The sun will be blazing again soon and so will our work load. Most of us work outside half of the day (if not more) and we need to protect ourselves from the sun. I want to talk about three sun-related topics: sunscreen, eye protection, and hydration. Today we will discuss sunscreens. I found some of the information for this topic on the American Melanoma Foundation web site that should help you pick out the proper sunscreen, and possibly change the sunscreen you have been using. We all know what happens after over exposure to the sun light and sun rays, so let’s take a look at how to prevent these issues from occuring. We’ll tackle eye protection and hydration in future posts

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) displayed on the sunscreen label refers to the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s harmful rays. SPF factors use 0 as the start of the scale, referring to not wearing any sunscreen at all, and increase with the level of protection. For example, if you use a sunscreen with an SPF 15, you can be in the sun 15 times longer that you can without sunscreen before burning. Consumers need to be aware that SPF protection does not increase proportionally with an increased SPF number. While an SPF of 2 will absorb 50% of ultraviolet radiation, an SPF of 15 absorbs 93% and an SPF of 34 absorbs 97%.

The FDA considers a product “water-resistant” if it maintains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure. A product is considered “waterproof” if it maintains its SPF level following 80 minutes of exposure to water. If you participate in outdoor recreational activities including swimming, you may want to choose a waterproof sunscreen.

Sunscreens should be used daily if you are going to be in the sun for more than 20 minutes. Most people will receive this amount of sun exposure while performing routine activities. They can be applied under makeup. There are many cosmetic products available today that contain sunscreens for daily use because sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen used on a regular basis actually allows some repair of damaged skin. Because the sun’s reflective powers are great – 17 percent on sand and 80 percent on snow – don’t reserve the use of these products for only sunny summer days. Even on a cloudy day 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds. Skiers beware, ultraviolet radiation increases 4 percent for every 1,000-foot increase in altitude.

How much sunscreen should you use and how often should you apply it? You should apply sunscreen to your dry skin 30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. Pay particular attention to your face, ears, hands and arms. Apply sunscreen liberally using one ounce to completely cover your body. Be careful to cover exposed areas, a missed spot could mean a patchy, painful sunburn. Lips get sunburned too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreens should be applied in the morning and reapplied after swimming or perspiring heavily. Remember, waterproof sunscreen begins losing effectiveness after 80 minutes in the water.

Safety, Its what you dont know that hurts you.

– Safety Sean