Southwest Metro's Best Eye Practices Offer Summer Sun Advice

A woman dips the brim of her sun hat, protecting her eyes from UV damage.
Eye care specialists offer tips on protecting eyes from UV damage.

Southwest Eye Care Chaska was voted Best Eye Practice in our Best of Southwest Metro 2019 readers' choice survey. Edina Eye Physicians and Park Nicollet Clinic were named runners-up.

Summer is best spent outdoors, rolling on bikes, floating on lakes or working in the yard. After applying sunscreen, don’t forget to grab a pair of sunglasses or a hat to shade your eyes. UVA and UVB radiation can have long- and short-term effects.

Eye care specialists, who serve the Southwest Metro, offer ways to keep eyes safe this summer:
Kevin Kirlin, O.D., optometrist at Park Nicollet clinics in Chanhassen and St. Louis Park.
Dr. Jabin Krassin, ophthalmologist for Southwest Eye Care.
Dr. Jeffrey Stephens, ophthalmologist for Edina Eye Physicians.

Can long-term sun exposure damage eyes?
Dr. Krassin: UV radiation can hasten cataracts and macular degeneration. Photokeratitis (sunburning your cornea) is painful and can potentially blur vision and changes in color vision.

What are some ways to protect eyes?
Dr. Krassin: Whenever ... outdoors, wear quality sunglasses that offer UV protection and a hat or cap with a wide brim. Choose sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
Dr. Stephens: Polarized sunglasses (which reduce glare from surfaces, such as water and glass) are the best way to protect your eyes. Babies should be protected with hats and sunglasses, and I do recommend kids wear sunglasses whenever possible.

Are sunglasses needed when it’s cloudy?
Kirlin: UV radiation does come through the clouds, so it’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days. More people get sunburned on cloudy days than sunny days because they think, ‘Oh, it’s cloudy. I don’t need to put sunscreen on.’ I wear my sunglasses all the time when I’m outside.

Should people wear protective eyewear when doing lawn work?
Dr. Stephens: We see many injuries to the eyes from outdoor work, and the story is always the same: ‘I was trimming, chain sawing, grinding, etc., and I took off my protective eyewear for one second, and something flew into my eye.’ Always wear protective eyewear for sports and outdoor work.

How can parents help kids ease eye issues in the summer?
Kirlin: Kids have a lot more free time in the summer, and they want to use digital devices all the time. When you’re looking at technology, your blink rate decreases to about half the normal rate. I’m starting to see dry eye symptoms in kids. Limiting technology to one-two hours a day is key.

Edina Eye and Physicians
A division of Twin Cities Eyes Consultants
111 Hundertmark Road, Suite 105N, Chaska
Facebook: Edina Eye Physicians
Twitter: @edinaeye

Park Nicollet Chanhassen
300 Lake Drive E., Suite 1, Chanhassen
Facebook: Park Nicollet Clinic Chanhassen
Twitter: @ParkNicollet

Southwest Eye Care Chaska
1200 Chaska Creek Way Suite 110, Chaska
Facebook: Southwest Eye Care
Instagram: @southwesteyecare
Twitter: @Southwest_Eye_