Put Your Shades On!

By: Elizabeth Prann Email
By: Elizabeth Prann Email

Most people know the harmful effects that ultraviolet (UV) rays can have on the skin. But many are not aware of the damage that they can cause to the eyes.

According to the website, preventblindness.org, experts say the most frightening aspect of UV damage is that it is cumulative, meaning the negative effects may not present themselves until years later.

The website state, a survey, revealed 82 percent of respondents knew that extended exposure to the sun could cause skin cancer, only 9 percent knew it could damage vision.

Dr. David Edinger from the Eye Center of North Florida says check out your shades! Makes sure the lenses are UV 400.

If you have questions, log on to eyecenterofnorthflorida.com or call (850) 784-3937 for more informaiton.

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Extended UV exposure has been linked to eye damage including:

Cataract- a major cause of visual impairment and blindness worldwide. Cataracts are a cloudiness of the lens inside the eye that develops over a period of many years. Laboratory studies have implicated UV radiation as a cause of cataract. Furthermore, studies have shown that certain types of cataract are associated with a history of higher ocular exposure to UV and especially UV-B radiation.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)- a leading cause of vision loss in the United States for people age 55 and older. Exposure to UV and intense violet/blue visible radiation is damaging to retinal tissue and scientists have speculated that chronic UV or intense violet/blue light exposure may contribute to degenerative processes in the retina.

Pterygium- a growth of tissue on the white of the eye that may extend onto the clear cornea where it can block vision. It can be removed surgically, but often recurs, and can cause cosmetic concerns and vision loss if untreated.

Photokeratitis- essentially, a reversible sunburn of the cornea resulting from excessive UV-B exposure. It can be extremely painful for 1-2 days and can result in temporary loss of vision. There is some indication that long-term exposure to UV-B can result in corneal and conjunctival degenerative changes.

Fortunately, eye protection doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. Quality sunglasses should block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation and prices vary. For UV protection in everyday eyewear, there are several options like UV-blocking lens materials, coatings and photochromic lenses.

Informaiton from: www.preventblindness.org/uv


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