UV rays don't just damage skin

May 1, 2008

Prevent Blindness has dedicated May as UV Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the best way to protect their eyes.

Chicago-Ultraviolet (UV) rays, both UVA and UVB, emitted by tanning beds can cause photokeratitis. Just like sunburns to the skin, symptoms may not appear until 6 to 12 hours after exposure. Long-term UV damage to the eyes will not show up until years later.

That is why Prevent Blindness (PBA) has dedicated May as UV Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the best way to protect their eyes. The "Prevent Blindness America UV Learning Center" provides free information on UV, tips on purchasing the best eye protection, and a quiz to test UV knowledge.

It is required by the FDA that clean, UV-blocking goggles be provided to all consumers at all tanning facilities. Cotton balls over the eyes and sunglasses are not sufficient protection.

"We tend to think that tanned skin is glamorous or attractive, but the process is actually quite dangerous," said Daniel D. Garrett, senior vice president of PBA. "Damage from UV exposure can cause cataracts or be a factor in macular degeneration."