Get Great Shades Without Losing Your Shirt

Overexposure to the sun can wreak havoc on your eyes. Sun damage can cause severe conditions such as photokeratitis (sunburn to the cornea), pterygium (tissue growth on the whites of eyes that can block vision), skin cancer on the eyelids, and has been implicated in the development of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration as well.

What you may not know is that even the best designer sunglasses may be doing more to improve your reputation than to protect your eyes from sun damage.

The three most common myths about sunglasses are:

— Darker sunglasses provide better protection against the sun.

— Expensive designer sunglasses are of a better quality than generic sunglasses.

— Sunglasses only need to be worn in the summer.

“Although not every situation or every person requires sunglasses, there are many situations where the use of sunglasses will enhance comfort and may provide eye health benefits as well,” says Dr. Donald J. D’Amico, chair of ophthalmology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Dr. Stephen Trokel, attending ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, adds, “There are strong indications that chronic exposure to the components of sunlight may accelerate aging of ocular tissues. Any protective eyewear should have side shield protection or wrap around the eye so light cannot enter the eye from side reflections.”

Drs. D’Amico and Trokel offer the following advice to help you choose the best sun protection for your eyes during the summer and all year round:

— Check out the label. When you buy your next pair of sunglasses, look for the label that states the glasses provide over 95 percent UV protection. That is the only label that counts.

— Color coordinate. Choose a lens tint that blocks 80 percent of transmissible light, but no more than 90 percent to 92 percent of light; neutral gray, amber, brown or green are good colors to choose from.

— Make a healthy fashion statement. Choose sunglasses that wrap all the way around the temples, and/or wear a hat with a three-inch brim that can block the sunlight from overhead.

— Personalize your style. People with light-colored eyes, such as blue and green, are often more sensitive to bright sunlight than people with brown or dark brown eyes.

— Wear shades over your contact lenses. People who wear contact lenses that offer UV protection should still wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are helpful from preventing the drying effect most contact lens wearers get from warm wind.

— Early protection is the best medicine. For the greatest protection, consider providing UV-protected sunglasses for your children, and remember that the eyes of very small infants should always be shaded from direct exposure to the sun.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Source: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital