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  • Eye on Safety: UV/Sun Protection
    Added by My Identity Doctor

    When you think of the damage sun can cause, people often first think about their skin. However, ultraviolet rays from sunlight also cause damage to the eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages Americans to get sun smart when it comes to your eyes [1], in addition to protecting your skin.

    Effects of sun on the eyes

    Proper sunglasses and a hat can help protect your eyes from the effects of harmful ultraviolet or “UV” rays. UV rays may be tied to [1]:

    • Cataracts – clouding of the lens at the front of the eye. Often treated with surgery successfully, cataracts can cause blindness.
    • Cancer – Eye cancer known as uveal melanoma can be caused by exposure of UV rays over time.
    • Pterygium or “Surfer’s Eye” – A growth on the eye caused by significant exposure to sunlight
    • Photokeratitis – A form of temporary “sun blindness” caused by sports in water, sand or snow, where UV is reflected. It can be prevented by wearing proper sunglasses or goggles that block UV rays while participating in sports, as well as by wearing welding helmets as appropriate. [2]

    Protecting yourself

    Ensuring you are wearing proper and adequate sunglasses. 47% of sunglasses wearers don’t check the UV ratings before purchasing [1] (which I, too, am guilty of!). To ensure your sunglasses are doing the job, they must be labeled UV400 or “100% UV protection” to provide the best protection to your eyes. [1] And in fact, darker lenses do not necessarily provide better eye protection than lighter ones—so check those ratings. [1]

    And, another nugget to think on: 74% of parents make their children wear sunscreen to protect from UV rays… but only 32% of parents are this insistent on ensuring children wear sunglasses, too. [1] (And come on, little sunglasses are so adorable!).

    Vision loss and UV exposure

    As discussed above, several types of vision loss can be caused or contributed to by sun/UV exposure. If you have vision loss or vision impairment impacted by or caused by the sun, protecting yourself may prevent further damage. As well, some types of eye disease or eye conditions will make it more difficult to see in bright areas or on sunny day. If you are blind or vision impaired, the eyes are often used to assess your responsiveness in an emergency—wearing medical ID jewelry for vision impairment may help ensure you get the care you need.

    The facts in this post came from a great infographic from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. I highly recommend checking it out to get even more sun smart!

    Published by My Identity Doctor on July 10, 2018


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