Doctors warn of eye hazards during summer months

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As the temperatures rise, so do your risks of heat-related injuries.

But there's one part of your body doctors say is usually neglected -- your eyes.

Even looking at the reflection of the sun hitting the water can be dangerous because UV rays are also being reflected into your eyes.

"The light rays are a lot more direct this time of year, so you're going to get a lot of UV light and a lot of sunlight exposure to the eyes," said Dr. Everett Marshall, an optometrist in Montgomery. "Both of these long-term are factors in cataracts and macular degeneration. And these are both diseases that are cumulative effects from the sunlight that you're getting on a daily basis."

Optometrists say people with lighter eye colors are at a higher risk for sun damage because they have less pigmentation. The solution isn't as simple as putting a little sunscreen on your eyelids though. In fact, that could cause a chemical burn.

Whether you're swimming in the pool or laying in the sun, a good pair of sunglasses is a great way to keep your eyes safe during the summer months.

"You don't really want to use sunscreen around the eyelids. The best way is sunglasses and a hat. And that's going to give your protection not only from sunburnt eyelid skin, you're also going to get that UV protection," Marshall said. "You're going to get the effects inside of the eye, the protection from there."

Sunglasses can also protect from accidental damage while playing a sport or mowing the lawn.

And if you think something may be wrong with your eye, always consult a doctor.

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