Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Is UV Awareness Month: Be Sun-wise With Your Eyes

The same sun rays that lead to skin cancer and premature aging of the skin are just as bad for your eyes. The culprit is Ultraviolet (UV) Rays and because May is National UV Awareness Month we want everyone to be “Sun-wise With Your Eyes”

Unprotected exposure to UV radiation can cause photokeratitis, which is basically a sunburn of the eyes marked by painful, red eyes and a sensitivity to light.The symptoms usually clear up quickly and cause no permanent damage to the eyes

However, growing evidence suggests that long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts , serious eye conditions that can cause vision impairment or loss.

Other UV related dangers include Pingueculae (small yellowish bumps on the white of the eye) and pterygium (opaque growth over the surface of the cornea). The more UV exposure you have during your life, the more likely you are to develop one of these damaging conditions.

Doctors suggest the following to protect the eyes from serious damage:

•If at all possible, limit your time in the sun.
•Wear a wide-brimmed hat
•Wear sunglasses that filter 99% of UV rays

Don’t forget the children. Children are especially susceptible to eye damage from the sun. The lenses in their eyes do not block as much UV radiation as in adults.  Follow the same precautions as you would for an adult, but be sure to choose sunglasses that fit their smaller faces, have impact-resistant lenses, and have lenses large enough to shield the entire eye.