Monday, May 5, 2014

Protect Eyes from UV Damage

Birmingham Ophthalmologist Marc Michelson, M.D. commented on the need to us proper UV eye protection to prevent damage from the intense sunlight we experience this time of year.  “May marks Ultraviolet (UV) Eye Protection Awareness Month and is a good time to remind our community of the need to wear UV protective eyewear and sunglasses as well as how to avoid UV eye damage by taking some simple precautions,” commented Dr. Michelson.

It is easy to forget the damage that UV from sunlight can cause to one’s eyes. Unlike the damage that can be caused to your skin which shows up as a sunburn, wrinkles and/or sun spots, UV eye injury can happen over a long period of time and can cause significant damage to eye health and vision. What kind of damage occurs? Without protection, exposure to UV has been linked to many eye problems. In some cases, it is thought to speed up such eye diseases such as cataract, age related macular degeneration (AMD), certain cancers on the delicate skin around the eye, Pterygia-a growth of white tissue on the surface of the eye-and even Photokeratitis, a type of sunburn of the cornea. “One of the most concerning aspects of UV eye damage and injury is that it is cumulative and often doesn’t become noticeable to patients for many years,” noted Dr. Michelson.

Some precautions regarding UV eye protection include:

·         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, allowing in even more harmful rays.
·         Wear a brimmed hat along with sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
·         Choose wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes.
·         Be aware that although 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 for those who lead active lifestyles.
·         Be sure to ask your doctor about the photosensitizing side effects of any medications that you might take.
·         Always wear eye protection when using a tanning bed. According the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times more than the sun, which can cause serious damage to the external and internal structures of the eye and eyelids.

In our optical shop, we have a wide range of sunglasses with UV protection lenses for your selection. Effective UV protection should block out about 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation and it doesn’t have to be expensive. In addition, your everyday eyewear should have UV protection as well. Our optical shop uses a number of UV blocking eyeglass lens materials, photochromic lenses and specialized coatings. Patients visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center can speak with our staff who will be able to provide the proper counseling and fitting of UV protecting lenses and eyewear. Our eye care professionals can offer a wide variety of UV blocking lenses, coatings and color changing lenses to keep you safe.

If you or someone you know has a question or concerns about ultraviolet (UV) eye damage and injury and how to select protective eyewear please feel free to call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or

Michelson Laser Vision is a leading Birmingham eye care practice with offices located with Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, at the UAB Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S., Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205.