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Press Release Archive (2014)

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July is UV Safety Month

Are you protecting yourself from the harmful affects of UV Rays?

You can protect your eyes from UV rays in two important ways:

  1. Know the dangers of UV rays.
  2. Wear proper eye protection and hats that block UV rays.

Sunglasses should be worn when you are outdoors so you can protect your eyes. You should choose sunglasses that:

  • reduce glare
  • filter out 99-100% of UV rays
  • protect your eyes
  • are comfortable to wear
  • do not distort colors.

UV rays can come from many directions. They radiate directly from the sun, but they are also reflected from the ground, from water, snow, sand and other bright surfaces.

Who is at Risk for Eye Damage from the Sun?

Yes, everyone (including children) is at risk for eye damage from UV radiation that can lead to vision loss. Any factor that increases the amount of time you spend in the sun will increase your risk.

People who work or play in the sun for long periods of time are at the greatest risk. The risk of sun related eye problems is higher for people who:

  • spend long hours in the sun
  • have had cataract surgery* or have certain retina disorders
  • are on certain medicines, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers that increase the eye's sensitivity to light.

How Can UV Rays Damage Your Eyes?

There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B. Over time, the effects of UV rays may cause a number of eye problems.

Macular Degeneration
UV rays may lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.

Cataract
UV rays, especially UV-B rays, may also cause some kinds of cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.

Pterygium
Another UV-related problem is a growth called pterygium. This growth begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea. Eventually, the growth may block vision. It is more common in people who work outside in the sun and wind.

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer around the eyelids is also linked to prolonged UV exposure.

Corneal Sunburn
Corneal sunburn, called photokeratitis, is the result of high short-term exposure to UV-B rays. Long hours at the beach or skiing without proper eye protection can cause this problem. It can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.

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