Proper UV protection for your eyes is important for summer

Jun 20, 2006
Proper UV protection for your eyes is important for summer
Because it takes years of UV radiation exposure to contribute to the formation of a cataract or damage in the retina, it's very important to get sunglasses with UV protection, to wear them at an early age and to keep wearing them as you get older, says an optometrist at Washington University's School of Medicine. Photo courtesy of WUSTL

We all know the importance of using sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun's harmful rays, but what about protection for our eyes? July is UV Safety Month and prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays without protection may cause eye conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats are your best protection against UV-related vision problems, but be careful when you're shopping for sunglasses -- the wrong kind of lenses might do more harm than good.

Mary Migneco, O.D., an instructor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the university's School of Medicine says that "The darkness that you see in sunglasses cuts out the visible UV rays. What's really harmful to your eyes, however, is the invisible UV, or ultraviolet radiation."

Migneco says that because tinted lenses block the glare from sunlight, sunglasses that don't have UV protection can actually contribute to eye damage.

"When the visible light rays are cut out, your pupil will dilate in order to allow more light into your visual system. If they are not UV protected, the sunglasses are actually doing more harm than good," says Migneco, who sees patients at the BJC Vision Center in St. Louis. "You're letting in more of the harmful UV rays by having your pupil dilated."

So, Migneco says it's important to look for labels on sunglasses and make sure the lenses are coated so that they block both types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB.

"UVB are more harmful than UVA, and they can lead to formation of cataracts and a condition on the back of the eye called macular degeneration. We want to be protected from both UVA and UVB rays. Generally speaking, anything marketed as UV protected is protected against both," adds Migneco.

If sunglasses are UV protected, they will have a sticker on them labeled from OSHA that says they are UVA and UVB protected. If there's no label on the lens, don't assume they are, Migneco warns., and, doctor's across the nation are urging Americans to protect their eyes and their children's eyes by wearing sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.

Source: WUSTL

Explore further: Counselling has limited benefit on young people drinking alcohol

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook awards 'Internet Defense Prize'

2 hours ago

Facebook awarded a $50,000 Internet Defense Prize to a pair of German researchers with a seemingly viable approach to detecting vulnerabilities in Web applications.

HP revenue inches up after years of decline

11 hours ago

Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday reported that its quarterly revenue rose for the first time in three years, nudged by improved computer sales everywhere except Russia and China.

Recommended for you

Noodles: Friend or foe? S. Koreans defend diet

1 hour ago

Kim Min-koo has an easy reply to new American research that hits South Korea where it hurts—in the noodles. Drunk and hungry just after dawn, he rips the lid off a bowl of his beloved fast food, wobbling ...

Leprosy: Myanmar struggles with ancient scourge

1 hour ago

High in the hills of Myanmar's war-torn borderlands, a clutch of new leprosy cases among communities virtually cut off from medical help is a sign that the country's battle with the ancient disease is far from over.

User comments : 0