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Photophobia: Protect Your Eyes Properly This Summer

by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern

With summer approaching, and as popular outdoor activities get into full swing, it’s important to remember to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. When venturing outdoors, everyone should be sure to wear sunglasses that have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. In excess, UV rays are harmful to the eyes, may cause cataracts, and are also linked with other eye conditions such as macular degeneration. This is especially relevant for those with conditions that include photophobia as a symptom, meaning that signals sent from the retina to the brain are interpreted as pain. With photophobia (also referred to as light sensitivity), the greater the level of light or UV rays, the more likely the individual is to experience discomfort or distorted vision. If you have an eye condition that renders you photophobic, consider visiting an eye doctor to discuss getting special photophobia glasses. These glasses differ from regular sunglasses by having wider arms and top panels to help block light from entering the eyes. In addition, while conventional tinted glasses usually have dark brown or grey lenses, photophobic glasses commonly have FL-41 (referring to the degree of fluorescence) lenses that are tinted pink or red, allowing for protection from blue-green light while maintaining greater visual clarity. You can learn more about photophobia in this article from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Photophobia: Looking for Causes and Solutions. Be sure to look at this article about photophobia glasses from Lensmart,  “How to find the right photophobia glasses?”, as well.