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Here Comes the Sun… Summer Eye Protection
We all love a warm sunny day. We know about the risk of skin cancer from ultraviolet
(UV) radiation from the sun and the importance of using sunscreen. Are we just as
aware of how to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful rays?
UV levels are highest in the summer months, especially between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Reflected UV radiation from sand and water further intensifies exposure.
While not usually life-threatening, skin cancers on the eyelids require sophisticated
surgery to remove. Cosmetically unappealing bumps on the surface of the eye can
occur (pincegula, a yellowish mass on the white part of the eye and pterygium, a growth
onto the cornea) and sometimes require surgery.
More important is the possible relationship between sun exposure, cataracts and
macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss in seniors
and any manageable risk factor is welcome news.
Sunglasses are the most important means of UV protection. They should be worn even
on cloudy days and in the winter. High quality lenses should match in color and be free
of distortions and imperfections. Gray lenses give the best color sense. Wrap-around
styles prevent light (and UV radiation) from entering from the sides.
Polarization in sunglasses is an effective way to protect your eyes from the sun.
Photochromic lenses (Transitions™) tend not to darken enough for many people and
do not work well for driving.
Remember the kids. UV exposure is cumulative over a lifetime so protection of skin and
eyes pays dividends for years to come.