Proper eye gear essential in the great outdoors
CHICAGO – With more Americans heading outside to enjoy recreational activities, the potential risk of damage to the eyes from ultraviolet rays from the sun increases greatly.Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause burns to the surface of the eye. And the cumulative affect of UV damage has been linked to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration later in life.”We can’t stress enough how important it is to protect your eyes every day from the sun,” said Daniel D. Garrett, senior vice president of Prevent Blindness America, in a press statement. “Even when the weather is overcast, the sun still emits intense, harmful rays.”Adults and children can easily protect their eyes by wearing proper sunglasses and a brimmed hat. Consumers must be careful of the type of sunglasses they purchase because not every pair offers UV protection. Just because a lens is tinted does not mean it offers UV defense. However, affordable sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays are widely available.Adults at a higher risk for eye problems caused by UV rays are those who spend a large amount of time in the sun, whether for work or recreation. Also, people who have had cataract surgery or other retinal disorders, and people who take certain medicines, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers, are also at special risk.Children are more susceptible to UV damage than adults because they tend to spend more time outside than adults. Prevent Blindness America encourages parents to help protect their children’s eyes by:n Only purchasing sunglasses that offer UV protectionn Ensuring sunglasses fit the child’s face and shield eyes from all anglesn Choosing impact-resistant lenses made of polycarbonate, never glass, unless prescribed by a doctorn Always insisting children wear a brimmed hat along with sunglasses”Sun damage accumulates over time so teaching children to protect their eyes is an important early step toward a lifetime of healthy vision,” Garrett said.For more information on the dangers of UV exposure and choosing the best sunglasses for adults and children, visit preventblindness.org or call (800) 331-2020.
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