Our Eyes, Not Just Our Skin, Need Protection From Sun
- Our eyes, not just our skin that needs protection from ultraviolet rays.
The Big Q: Did you know our eyes can get sunburned?
The Big A: Yes, they can.
To help protect your eyes from the sun, the Food & Drug Administration just cleared contact lenses that act like sunglasses.
Aside from the intense sun exposure that can cause eye sunburns aka photokeratitis, even the occasional failure to remember your sunglasses on a bright day can cause problems for your eyes,
Jessica Lee, a board-certified ophthalmologist, and assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said, “Too much exposure to UV light chronically can increase the risk of developing eye diseases such as cataracts, eye cancers, and growths on the skin of the eye.” So, keeping your eyes protected from harmful UV rays is just as important as religiously keeping up with your sun cream routine.
UV rays from the sun can cause corneal sunburn (photokeratitis) and UV damage that has been linked to macular degeneration, cataracts, cancer and pterygium (a growth on the white part of the eye), according to Prevent Blindness, a nonprofit eye health and safety group.
While everyone is at risk of sun-related eye problems, the threat is highest among people who: spend long hours in the sun; have certain retina disorders; have had cataract surgery; and are on certain medications such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers that increase the eye’s sensitivity to light.
When buying sunglasses, choose those that clearly state that they block 99 to 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. Wrap-around sunglasses are best, and sunglasses should be worn in conjunction with a brimmed hat experts recommend.
For outdoor sports, talk to an eye care professional about eye protection that blocks UV rays and also protects eyes from injury.
“Consistently wearing effective UV eye protection is a habit that we should practice year-round, not just in the warm-weather months. By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and a visor, we can help protect our vision today and for years to come,” the President and CEO of Prevent Blindness, said in a news release from the group.
Have a terrific weekend
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