In The News: Report Finds More Americans Need to Protect Eyes from the Sun

| 5/23/2012 4:12:12 PM

J.PattonLast week, I wrote a blog about protecing your skin from the sun’s harmful rays with quality sunscreen. However, your skin isn’t the only part of you that needs protecting—your eyes do as well.  Before venturing outside on a warm sunny day, put on sunglasses. A new report issued by The Vision Council today explains why sporting protective shades is just plain smart.

The report stated that only 73 percent of adults in the United States report wearing sunglasses on a regular basis, meaning more than a quarter of American adults leaves their eyes at risk for damage from the sun. Only 58 percent of them make sure their children wear sunglasses as well, which is particularly troubling. The risk of damage to our eyes from solar UV radiation is cumulative, meaning the more time we spend outside, the more our risk goes up. Children typically spend more time outside than their parents so protecting their eyes on sunny days becomes even more important for vision later on in life.

UV exposure can have many short-term and long-term effects on the eye. After a day outside in the sun, eyes may appear bloodshot, light-sensitive and swollen. In some cases, photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eye, can occur. In severe cases, this “snow blindness” can cause vision loss for up to two days.

If you are often outside for long periods of time, more severe side effects can occur, such as cataracts, which is the progressive clouding of the lens of the eye, or even cancer of the eye, eyelid or nearby skin. Age-related macular degeneration is also possible, which can result in blurred vision and hindered color perception.

Choose sunglasses that you feel and look good. You will be more likely to
wear them and, therefore, more likely to save your eyesight.
Photo by jilleatsapples/Courtesy

Luckily, picking out the perfect pair of sunglasses is easy, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying and wearing sunglasses:

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