Ultraviolet rays pose a danger to more than just your skin. In fact, cumulative UV damage has been linked to the development of macular degeneration, cataract and cancer. It can also cause immediate injury, such as a corneal sunburn (photokeratitis) that occurs from extended exposure to rays reflected off water, snow or concrete.
Prevent Blindness has declared May as Ultraviolet (UV) Awareness Month to help educate the public on the dangers of UV exposure as well as provide information on the best ways to protect vision. An eye care professional can offer recommendations on the best types of sunglasses for everyone in the family, including those that may need prescription lenses.
Everyone should wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect the eyes when outdoors. Always choose sunglasses that:
• reduce glare
• filter out 100% of UV rays
• protect your eyes
• are comfortable to wear
• do not distort colors
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, polarized lenses cut reflected glare, (sunlight that bounces off smooth surfaces like pavement, car windows, chromed surfaces or water). However, polarization has nothing to do with UV light absorption, but many polarized lenses are now combined with a UV-blocking substance. The group advises to check the label to make sure the lenses provide maximum UV protection.
Prevent Blindness also recommends consulting with an eye care professional on eye protection that both blocks UV as well as protects eyes from injury. Eye protection glasses and goggles with UV coating may be found for almost any sport or outdoor activity, including yard work, etc. As the weather starts to warm and we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to remember never to leave the house without UV protection for the eyes.
For more information on the dangers of UV exposure and how to choose the best UV protection, please visit the Prevent Blindness dedicated Web page at www.preventblindness.org/protect-your-eyes-sun or visit www.pbohio.org