Skip to Content

NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.

Healthy You

Shaded Sunny Days: Protecting Eyes from the Eclipse

Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:34 PM

This upcoming Monday, most of us will be staring up at the sky to watch the partial eclipse that will partake over the Chicagoland area. While it is important to protect our eyes during the few minutes of the eclipse, it is imperative that protect our eyes every day. 


To help us understand why sunglasses are so important every day, Milap Mehta, MD, Ophthalmologist at NorthShore, explains the dangers that UV rays can have on our eyes and offers tips:

  • Too much sun exposure may lead to eyelid cancers: including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
  • If not taken care of, eyelid cancers may spread to the eye, potentially requiring Mohs micrographic surgery to remove the mass and subsequent reconstructive surgery.
  • Too much UV exposure can aggravate cataracts, which is the most common cause of treatable blindness.
  • Tanning beds or too much sun can also affect the corneas leading to worsening dessication or dryness and exposure symptoms. Wearing sunglasses or other protective eyewear can help.
  • When on the boat, water skiing or near water, sunglasses protect against the UV rays reflecting off the water and may enhance your vision.
  • Don’t forget to wear sunglasses year around! Most people are surprised that they need them in the wintertime as the sun’s rays bounce off snow – this is especially worrisome for those who snowboard and ski.

What can you do to protect yourself? Dr. Mehta suggests always wearing sunglasses and if they are not immediately available, then reach for a hat for temporary relief.

When shopping for sunglasses, look for these components for optimal safety:

  • Absorb and block 99-100% of UVA and UVB light
  • Ideally guard against HEV light
  • The size of the glasses should protect all of the eyes, eyelids and surrounding areas
  • Durable and impact resistance
  • Polarized lenses reduce glare