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Protect Your Eyes This Summer with Safety Tips from Atrium Health Navicent

UV Safety Awareness Month is observed each July

Long summer days offer the opportunity to engage in a variety of outdoor activities, but unprotected long-term exposure to bright sunlight can increase a person’s risk of developing cataracts, growths on the eye, age-related macular degeneration, eye cancers and other vision-stealing eye conditions.

In recognition of UV Safety Awareness Month, Atrium Health Navicent encourages the community to take steps to protect their eyes from the sun and ultraviolet (UV) light, an invisible type of radiation that comes from the sun.

“Especially during summer, it is very important to protect your eyes,” said Dr. Monali Sakhalkar, an ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology, Atrium Health Navicent.

While UV rays reflected off sand and water can cause eyes to sunburn, potentially resulting in temporary blindness in just a few hours, many of the harmful effects of unprotected exposure to bright light may not manifest for several years.

“That’s why it’s important not just for you to wear sunglasses, but for children to also wear them to be protected,” Sakhalkar said.

When choosing sunglasses, read the label. Be sure to buy a pair that has a tag or sticker that says they provide 100 percent UV protection from all UV light, advises the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Polarized and darkened lenses do not equate to UV protection, although some pairs with these features do offer protection. Lenses should fit the face properly with frames that are close to the eyes. It’s also important to remember that sunglasses don't have to be expensive to be safe and effective.

Even while wearing sunglasses, it’s important to never look directly at the sun. For extra protection, also consider wear a broad-rimmed hat when going out in the sun.

To protect overall eye health, see your eye doctor regularly while also eating a diet that’s rich in vitamin C, beta carotene, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you or a loved one has an eye health concern or need to schedule a checkup, Atrium Health Navicent has physicians available to help. To find a doctor, visit and click “Find A Doctor” or schedule an appointment by calling 478-633-8033.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and well-being through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit