Protect Your Eyes From the Summer Skies

July 19, 2010

Warm weather is right around the corner. Children and their families will be enjoying more outdoor activities and planning family vacations to the beach. Parents and children are becoming more accustomed to applying sunscreen to their skin, whether it’s a cloudy or sunny day, to protect themselves from the harmful UV rays of the sun. But what are we doing to protect our eyes from these same harmful rays? According to Gregory W. Good, OD., Ph.D., optometric and American Optometric Association UV Protection Expert, “overexposure to UV rays has been linked to a variety of eye problems, including age-related cataracts and degeneration of the cornea.” Similar to skin burns, UV rays can cause abnormal growths on the eye surface, sunburn of the eyes that may cause temporary vision loss, or even blindness. That is why the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind is encouraging these 5 ways to prevent eye damage from exposure to UV rays:

1. Wear protective eyewear any time the eyes are exposed to UV rays, even on cloudy days and during the winter.

2. Look for quality sunglasses or contact lenses that offer good protection. Sunglasses or protective contact lenses should block out 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation and screen out 75-90% of visible light.

3. Check to make sure sunglass lenses are perfectly matched in color and free of distortions or imperfections.

4. Purchase gray-colored lenses because they reduce light intensity without altering the color of objects to provide the most natural color vision.

5. Don’t forget protection for young children and teenagers who typically spend more time in the sun than adults and thus are at greater risk of damage. Protecting the eyes of everyone in your family is an important task. Remember you can enjoy the summer skies and be safe, too!

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