From Our 2007 Archives

Eye-Protecting Sunglasses Are Cool Again This Summer

MONDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- The official start of summer this Memorial Day weekend is a great time to remember the danger to eyes from the sun's ultraviolet rays, say experts at Prevent Blindness America.

"Most of us wouldn't dream of staying outside in the sun without putting on sunscreen lotion. But we also have to remember to wear both UV-blocking lenses and a brimmed hat to protect our eyes as well," Daniel G. Garrett, senior vice president of Prevent Blindness America, said in a prepared statement.

But a recent survey found that only nine percent of respondents were aware that extended sun exposure can damage vision, and only about 16 percent said they wear sunglasses when they're outdoors for long periods of time, according to the Chicago-based organization.

Only about a third of respondents said they wear a hat when they're out in the sun.

UV damage to eyes is cumulative, and the harmful effects may not be evident for years. Extended UV exposure has been linked with a number of eye problems including cataract, age-related macular degeneration, pterygium (a corneal disorder), and photokeratitis.

As part of UV Awareness Month in May, Prevent Blindness America is launching a new Web site to educate people about what they can do to protect their eyes. The site includes a variety of features, ranging from information about risk factors to tips for buying sunglasses.

Sunglasses don't have to be expensive to be effective, which means they block out 99 percent to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Prevent Blindness America, news release, May 2007

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