VC, PBA battle UV dangers

May 11, 2011

Ultraviolet (UV) Awareness Month is May, and the Vision Council (VC) and Prevent Blindness America (PBA) are joining forces to encourage your patients to protect their eyes from UV radiation.

Alexandria, VA- Ultraviolet (UV) Awareness Month is May, and the Vision Council (VC) and Prevent Blindness America (PBA) are joining forces to encourage patients to protect their eyes from UV radiation.

The two groups also are supporting the national “Don’t Fry Day,” which the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated as the Friday before Memorial Day, in an effort to help reduce the rising rates of skin cancer in the United States.

“The VC and PBA want to make sure that people are aware of the need to protect their vision as well as their skin from overexposure to the sun,” said Ed Greene, chief executive officer (CEO) of the VC. “Along with sunscreen, hats, and other protective gear, we want people to remember to wear UV-blocking sunglasses whenever they’re outside.”

The two organizations have ongoing commitments to help consumers stay safe in the sun. Soon, the VC will release a new report, “Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe.” It will be downloadable at www.thevisioncouncil.org/sunglasses.

PBA offers “The UV Learning Center,” a Web page at www.preventblindness.org/uv/that contains information about the dangers of UV, how to purchase sunglasses for adults and children, and related topics. In March, PBA released a white paper, “UV and Our Nation’s Vision,”-downloadable at www.preventblindness.org/sunandvision/. It seeks to bring national attention to the need for public education on the damaging effects of UV radiation to eyesight.

“Putting on sunglasses and applying sunscreen takes only a few minutes and helps avoid dangerous sunburns and future vision issues, such as cataracts or macular degeneration,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of PBA.

Some tips to share with your patients about choosing sunglasses:

  • Reputable retailers will carry products that meet frame and lens quality criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Look for sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB light.
  • Fit and feel make a difference; sunglasses that are uncomfortable are less likely to be worn.
  • Consider multiple pairs of sunglasses; your activity will determine the appropriate lenses and frames.
  • The darkness of a lens has nothing to do with UV protection, although various lens colors can offer other benefits. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses work well for water sports; gray, brown, and amber lenses work well for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  •  For extra protection, wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles.

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