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Most of us know we should put sun protection on our skin before heading outdoors in bright sunlight. But it's also important to protect our eyes. (Read about "The Eye") The Opticians Association of America says that too much exposure to bright sunlight can, over the years, reduce our ability to see clearly at night. Scientists are also studying the relationship between long-term exposure to ultraviolet light and certain eye diseases such as cataracts. (Read about "Cataracts") The National Cancer Institute says age and sun exposure may also increase the risk of developing a type of cancer called intraocular melanoma. (Read about "Eye Cancer")
Good sunglasses can help avoid problems by protecting our eyes. When choosing sunglasses, you should look for labels that indicate the glass blocks both UVA and UVB rays. The darkness of the lens isn't always a good indication of this ability. In fact, dark lenses without UVA and UVB protection merely serve to dilate the pupil and allow more damaging rays in.
When choosing a style, look for a good fit, and make sure you and your family wear your sunglasses as much as possible when you're outdoors in bright sunlight. Don't forget though, that even the best sunglasses won't protect your eyes if you stare directly at the sun. Doing so can cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Make sure every one in the family protects their eyes, not just the adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children, including infants, should wear hats with a brim and sunglasses designed to block at least 99 percent of the sun's rays.
Summer also means more sports and outdoor activities. If someone is hit in the eye, a healthcare professional should be called if there are signs of eye injury. (Read about "Eye Injury")
Signs of injury to the eye can include:
The best defense, of course, is prevention. Make sure everyone in the family has their eyes checked regularly. (Read about "Eye Exams") And remember that it's also important for you and your family to take precautions against all kinds of sports injuries, including injuries to your eyes.
Ask your doctor or eye care specialist about protective shields or goggles. You might even consider using goggles during non-sports-related outside activities, such as gardening. If you use glasses to correct vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology says contact lenses and regular prescription eyeglasses offer no protection to the eye during sports play; because of this, it recommends using special polycarbonate prescription lenses for sports participants, especially baseball and racquet sports. (Read about "Safety Equipment")
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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