in the Sun, Think
More than Sunscreen
Excerpt By Robert Preidt, HealthScoutNews
heading out to enjoy a day in the sun, think beyond sunscreen if
you want to fully protect yourself from sun damage.
A good pair of
sunglasses and a hat will ensure that you're not blinded by the light.
are aware of the damage ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause to skin.
However, you should know your eyes are also vulnerable.
UV can contribute
to age-related changes in the eye and a number of serious eye diseases,
says Betsy van Die, media relations director for Prevent Blindness
sunburned corneas and cancer of the eyelid are among those UV-related
is at risk, whether it's a child or an adult. Anybody who spends
time in the sun and exposes their eyes to the sun without wearing
sunglasses or a hat is at risk," van Die says.
contains UVA and UVB, and both can harm your eyes.
UVB is the
short wavelength radiation that causes sunburn and increases the
risk of skin cancer. Intense UVB exposure can cause a condition
called photokeratitis in your eyes. That's sunburn on your cornea,
the clear membrane that covers the front of your eye.
is common in people who spend long hours on the beach or ski slopes
without proper eye protection. While it's not permanent, it can
be extremely painful and result in temporary vision loss, van Die
deep into the eye and may injure the macula, the part of the retina
responsible for sight in the center field of vision.
of UV rays can contribute to the development of cataracts, which
affect more than half of all Americans by the age of 80. Currently,
there almost 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older with cataracts.
Too much UV
exposure may also contribute to macular degeneration, a major cause
of vision loss for Americans over the age of 55. Cancer of the eyelids
is another threat if you don't shield your eyes, van Die says.
yet another UV-related risk. It's a benign, yet abnormal, growth
that develops on the white of the eye and may extend onto the cornea,
where it can block vision. It can be removed surgically, but it
usually found in fishermen, lifeguards, ski patrollers -- people
who spend a lot of time in the sun without protection," van
from all these threats is a simple as sunglasses and a hat that
shades your face. A wide-brimmed hat reduces the amount of UV on
your face by about 50 percent, van Die says. Baseball hats aren't
as good, she notes.
advice for buying sunglasses. Look for the little oval information
sticker on the glasses. Only buy them if the sticker says the sunglasses
block 99 percent to 100 percent of UVA and UVB.
know there's no way to guarantee those stickers are legitimate,
van Die says. Be wary if the label just says the sunglasses "block
harmful UV." You can improve the odds by shopping at a reliable
go to a dollar store, and buy something for a dollar. You get what
you pay for," she says.
sunglasses offer the best protection because the lenses shield your
eyes from all angles. Don't make your eyes victims of fashion by
buying into the current trend of sunglasses with tiny lenses.
your children need sunglasses with full UV protection. The lenses
should be made of polycarbonate, not glass, to protect against eye
injury, van Die says.
that children's sunglasses are comfortable and fit properly, or
kids will just take them off and toss them aside.
You can find
out more about UV, your eyes, and sunglasses at Prevent
Blindness America or the National
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