MAY IS ULTRAVIOLET (UV) LIGHT AWARENESS MONTH

May 1, 2015

UV light is a spectrum of normal sunlight that is not visible, and causes many of the normal and abnormal aging changes in the skin and eyes.  Too much exposure to UV rays can also burn delicate eye tissue and raise the risk of developing cataracts and cancers of the eye.  Almost all of the ultra violet light that enters the eye from sunlight is absorbed by the cornea and lens of the eye.

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses?

  • Skin Cancer: Up to 10 percent of all skin cancers are found on the eyelid, protecting the skin around our eyes from the direct light of the sun is very important.

  • Cataracts: UV light may lead to the development of certain types of cataracts, which is cloudiness on the lens of your eye that can also interfere with your vision.

  • Photokeratits: Essentially sunburn of the eye is temporary but can be very painful, causing blurred vision, light sensitivity,

     

    and the feeling of having an eyelash or sand in your eye.  It can develop after several hours under intense UV ray exposure.

  • Pinguecula: A pinguecula is a non-cancerous eye growth on the white part of the eye that can develop in everyone from children to seniors.  This can occur in anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, without protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays.

What Should You Look For In a Pair of Sunglasses?

For the times when you need serious sun protection for your eyes, not all sunglasses are created equal.  Don’t necessarily use price to determine the quality of the sunglasses, as many of the higher priced brands cost more because of fashion not function.  Avoid sunglasses that simply say “absorbs UV,” instead look for a label that says 99-100 percent UV absorption or UV 400 (which means they block all UVA and UVB rays).

  • Polarized lenses help cut glare allowing for crisper vision, but they do not add sun protection

  • Darker lens colors don’t necessarily mean better sun protection, as the UV protectant added to lenses is clear; even gray, green, yellow or rose lenses can offer adequate UV protection

  • Sunglasses made from pressed plastic will lead to distorted vision when you look to the right or left; choose sunglasses with optically ground lenses for less distortion

  • Larger frames and wraparound styles will shield more UV rays that smaller styles

There are some very simple and effective ways to reduce your ultraviolet light exposure and improve your eye health.  To find out more, take the quick quiz found here: Preventblindness.org – UV awareness quiz.

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