Sun protection: Don’t forget about your eyes

When it comes to sun protection, we’re often reminded to protect our skin.

But, according to Amy Kassouf, M.D., a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, wearing sunglasses to protect our eyes is just as important.

And having tinted glasses isn’t enough – they need to provide UV protection.

“They need to actually cover UV,” said Dr. Kassouf. “They need to say one hundred percent UV spectrum, because the backs of your eyes can actually be damaged, and you can get melanomas and things in your eyes.”

Dr. Kassouf said wrap-around sunglasses are best, because they also protect around the ‘crow’s feet’ area around the outside of the eyes.

And wrap-around UV sunglasses help protect, not only against sun damage, but also wrinkles around the eyes.

She said this area consists of especially thin skin, which is very sensitive to the effects of the sun, and is prone to aging faster than other areas of our skin.

Dr. Kassouf also said putting certain products around the eyelid area and going outside without sunglasses can set people up for increased damage to the skin around the eyes.

“You may put moisturizer, or a plain ointment around your eyes, and this can actually increase the sun’s penetration if the product doesn’t actually have SPF protection,” she said.

Dr. Kassouf said we want to protect the skin around our eyes, however, it’s important not to get sunscreen in the eyes, or have sunscreen drip into the eyes from sweating, which can cause stinging.