May is UV awareness month

May 10, 2012

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared May UV Awareness Month to help educate the public on the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) rays and how to protect the eyes from them.

Chicago-Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared May UV Awareness Month to help educate the public on the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) rays and how to protect the eyes from them.

“We want to stress the importance of protecting the eyes from UV rays, especially to young people,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of PBA. “Although we may not notice any ill effects of UV exposure today, it can greatly [affect] our ability to see clearly in the future.”

PBA offers these UV protection tips to share with your patients:

• Always wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses without UV protection may shade the eyes but actually cause the pupils to dilate, allowing in even more harmful rays.

• Wear a brimmed hat along with sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

• Choose wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes.

• Be aware that although some contact lenses may offer UV protection, they cannot protect the entire eye and the skin around it.

• Choose sunglasses made of unbreakable polycarbonate, especially for children and for those who lead active lifestyles.

• Ask your doctor about prescription medication that may cause increased sensitivity to light.

• Always wear eye protection when using a tanning bed. According the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times more than the sun, which can cause serious damage to the external and internal structures of the eye and eyelids.

Go to http://preventblindness.org/protect-your-eyes-sun for more information from PBA on the dangers of UV exposure and information on how to choose the right sunglasses for adults and children.

For more articles in this issue of Ophthalmology Times eReport, click here.