Thursday, July 4, 2013

UV Awareness Month...Protect Your Peepers!

Did you know that July is UV Awareness Month?  The American Academy of Ophthalmology has deemed July as the month we should spread awareness about UV safety, especially as it applies to eye safety.

Interestingly, the AAO states the usual sun protection facts that we all SHOULD know by now:
  • Wear sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher (I recommend 30 or higher)
  • Wear long sleeves and hats
  • Avoid being in the sun during the peak hours of 10AM to 2PM.
  • Wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
  • Keep an eye on changes to your skin.
  • Wear UV Protective sunglasses.
“Prevent Blindness America” (which actually declared May as UV Awareness Month) shared some additional tips and facts regarding sun safety for the eyes:
  • 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, thus allowing more harmful rays.  (In other words, merely shading the eyes could cause more damage if you don’t add the UV protection!)
  • Wear a brimmed hat along with the proper sunglasses for additional protection.
  • Choose wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around the eyes.  (Many people apply sunscreen very lightly near the eyes (it burns!), so sunglasses are equally important to protect the skin around the eyes as they are to protect the eyes.)
  • Be aware that while 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 those that lead active lifestyles.
  • Ask your doctor is any medication you’re taking may cause increased sensitivity to light.
According to the “Vision Council,” the following medical issues are associated with UV explosure:
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Macular Degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in the country!)
  • Photokeratitis
  • Pterygium
In short, your eyes are very sensitive organs that need to be protected from UV exposure as much as (or even more than) the skin.  In fact, this is one thing the tanning industry got right.  Even they provide those goofy eye protectors to wear during tanning sessions.  You KNOW it’s important if even those guys offer protection!

The next time you lather on the sunscreen, don’t forget your UV protective sunglasses.  Protect your peepers!

1 comment:

  1. I am always happy to see that there are so many months dedicated to raising awareness for skin protection and skin cancer! I only wish that these public health events got even a quarter of the air time that events like breast cancer awareness month gets (correct me if I am wrong...). Maybe it's because some of the bigger companies feel that they won't be able to sell as many products under the guise of supporting skin cancer awareness. This was the first year that I learned about UV-Safety Month and it was from my own research really. I don't remember seeing much, or anything for that matter, on TV about it.