As summer vacations begin, experts at Lighthouse International urge everyone to take eye safety seriously and prevent damage from the sun that could be permanent. Lighthouse International, based in New York City, is the 104 year old non-profit leader in vision health.
While many people know that unprotected exposure to the sun can cause damage to the skin, unprotected sun exposure can also harm the eyes. Boaters, fishermen, golfers and people going on cruises to the Caribbean and southern ports should be especially careful.
According to Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal OD, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International “Research shows that only one in six Americans wear sunglasses when they are in the sun for long periods of time, yet people who spend excessive hours in the summer sun have an increased risk in later life of developing age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration as well as cataracts and corneal problems. Sunglasses are vital because they keep certain wavelengths of light from entering the eye. They can also reduce the amount of light entering the eye, protect against harmful UV light, decrease glare and increase contrast.”
Here are 5 eye safety tips from the experts at Lighthouse.
1. Be sure to wear proper sunglasses – sunglasses that have 400 UV protection or more. A dark lens does not necessarily have UV protection. The key characteristic to look for is an indication that the lenses absorb 99 to 100 percent of UV light, particularly UV-B. An ultraviolet-blocking coating can also be placed on any lens, regardless of the degree of tint. However, a coating does not block as much UV light as the protective lens.
2. Be sure to wear sun glasses ,especially during long hours on the beach or on the water since the water reflects and intensifies the sun.
3. To further minimize sun damage to the eyes, people of all ages –from infants to seniors — should wear hats or visors.
4. Be sure to wear eye protection that is fitted properly when playing any sport. Such protective lenses should be made of polycarbonate which can withstand high impact. Eye injuries are one of the leading causes of visual impairment in children.
5. Avoid blue tinted sun glasses – they may look cool but blue tint actually emits ultra violet light which is what you are supposed to be blocking out.