Most people are aware they need to protect their skin from the sun, but fewer place the same priority on the safety of their eyes. According to the American Eye-Q survey, 35 percent of adults are unaware of the eye-health risks associated with spending too much time in the sun without the proper protection.
Protection from ultraviolet light can decrease the risk of eye diseases and disorders such as cataracts, macular degeneration, blurred vision, irritation and redness. In some instances, overexposure to UV rays can even cause temporary vision loss or skin cancer around the eyelids.
These six tips from the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association may help prevent eye and vision damage from overexposure to UV radiation:
1. Wear protective eyewear any time the eyes are exposed to significant UV rays, even on cloudy days — and during winter.
2. Wear quality sunglasses or contact lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
3. Make sure sunglass lenses are perfectly matched in color and free of distortions or imperfections.
4. Purchase gray-colored lenses because they reduce light intensity without altering the color of objects to provide the most natural color vision. Brown or amber-colored lenses may be better for those who are visually impaired because they increase contrast, as well as reduce light intensity.
5. Children and teenagers typically spend more time in the sun than adults and are at a greater risk for damage. Children, including infants, should wear sunglasses and/or hats outdoors to protect fragile eyes and skin.
6. Clear prescription lenses vary in their UV-protection properties. When ordering glasses, make it a point to ask your eye-care provider about the UV-blocking qualities of the lenses you're getting.
Dr. Ken Loftus practices in Ashland at Ashland Eye Care. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-482-3873.