A woman's speech bubble, which is filled with a hat and sunscreen symbol, wraps around behind her head, shading her from the intense sun rays above.

Summer With Sun Sensitivity

I love summer — the sunny weather, staying light outside later, and vacations. I live in an area filled with parks, trails, and nature, and I love being able to explore so close to home. Of course, I also love being able to escape to a hopefully sunny summer destination on vacation, too!

Sun sensitivity and living with a rare disease

My eyes, however, do not love the sun at all. Due to my rare eye disease, I have extreme sun sensitivity. Many people with rare diseases or who take a variety of medications have increased sun and heat sensitivity, leading to a myriad of issues with increased exposure.

While trying to stay out of the sun in the summer is nearly impossible, I try my best to make it as easy as I can to deal with it. Here are some tips and tricks I use to protect myself while enjoying the summer weather.

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This or That

Do you have sensitivities to the sun?

Sunglasses aren’t just for fashion

Due to my light sensitivity, I have worn sunglasses since I was a toddler. I have tried pretty much every style available. At this point, I just go for the darkest, largest, and most coverage sunglasses I can find that fit my face shape. There are so many options! You can go more fashionable or sporty or find a balance between the 2 — my usual sunglasses fashion is somewhere between sporty and practical.

I love being able to choose new sunglasses every few years. I feel like it gives you a new fashion outlook every time you choose a new pair. As fashion, sunglasses are an expression of my personal style as well as changing my look around a bit.

Embrace all the hats

Much easier to change than sunglasses, headgear of all kinds is wonderful for protecting you from the sun. I’ve learned that certain hats are good for particular activities and circumstances.

I love myself a wide-brimmed hat but also have realized that it’s impossible to ride in a car or do public transit with a wide hat on! Similarly, a baseball hat is less large and easier to travel in, but it doesn’t provide as much sun protection as a wide-brimmed hat.

A bucket hat is sometimes the perfect combination between the two, depending on the circumstance. And then there are visors! The possibilities are endless. Apparently, I do indeed have detailed headwear fashion thoughts!

Schedule around extra bright times

I feel like I am an unintentional expert on all the bright places around me. I’ve learned to schedule some activities that I know will be extra bright during the mornings when there is still cloud cover.

I enjoy my local farmer’s market a few blocks from my house, but it’s on a street with limited shade and can get too bright for me to navigate comfortably. I go when it first opens now so I can have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Pre-planning my days to reduce exposure or mitigate the effects of the sun allows me to do more and enjoy myself.

I hope these tips help during the beautiful but bright summer!

Do you have sun sensitivity? Have you changed the way you approach certain activities? We want to hear from you! Tell us more in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RareDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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