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Shade Those Peepers

Protect your eyes from sun damage

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

SUNDAY, Aug. 10, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- You wouldn't poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick, would you?

So why would you leave your eyes unprotected against the potentially serious damage they can suffer from ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunshine?

UV can contribute to age-related changes in the eye and a number of serious eye diseases, says Prevent Blindness America (PBA), a volunteer eye health and safety organization based in Schaumburg, Ill.

Cataract, sunburned corneas and cancer of the eyelid are among those UV-related dangers.

Good sunglasses are the key to protecting your eyes from UV damage. Your sunglasses should block 99 percent to 100 percent of the full UV spectrum. You can't tell that just be looking at them. Some sunglasses may have a dark tint, but offer little or no UV protection.

Look for sunglasses that have labels outlining their UV protection.

Remember that a hefty pricetag doesn't guarantee that a pair of sunglasses provides adequate protection. An inexpensive pair of sunglasses at your local drugstore can offer more UV protection than pricey sunglasses with designer frames. Shop carefully.

Don't forget that children need proper UV-protected sunglasses, too. Don't buy them toy sunglasses that will do nothing to protect their eyes. The same rule applies here. Look for children's sunglasses that block 99 percent to 100 percent of UV radiation.

You can enhance the protection offered by your sunglasses by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, which reduces the amount of UV on your face by about 50 percent.

More information

You can find out more about UV and sunglasses at the National Consumers League.

SOURCE: Prevent Blindness America
Consumer News