All Eyes on Summer Sun Safety

Protecting vision from UV glare is key, experts say

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SATURDAY, July 9, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- After slathering on the sunscreen, summer-lovin' Americans should take steps to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, say experts at the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Long-term exposure to UV radiation can damage eyes and lead to vision loss, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

July is UV Safety Month, so the American Academy of Ophthalmology is offering these tips on protecting vulnerable eyes from the sun:

  • Buy right. Purchase sunglasses that block UV rays. That doesn't mean buying expensive sunglasses or especially dark ones, the experts note, since UV-blocking power isn't dependent on either price or lens darkness.
  • Go side-to-side. Ideally, sunglasses should wrap all the way around the temples to help prevent the sun's rays from entering from the sides.
  • Top it off. In addition to sunglasses, broad-rimmed hats are key to shielding sensitive eyes, and should be worn even on cloudy days. The sun's UV rays can pass through thin clouds and haze, experts say.
  • Build on contacts. The experts remind contact lens wearers that sunglasses are always a must, even for those wearing contacts with built-in UV protection.
  • Beware the glare. It's especially important to wear sunglasses in early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.

More information

The American Academy of Ophthalmology outlines potential eye disorders caused by UV radiation.

SOURCE: American Academy of Ophthalmology, news release, June 20, 2005

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