Tuesday, April 30, 2013

UV Eye Injury, Protection & Eyewear

It’s a good time to discuss UV eye injury, protection from the effects of our Alabama sun and the need to use proper eyewear and sunglasses as May marks Ultraviolet (UV) Eye Protection Awareness Month noted the Birmingham eye doctors at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center. “UV protective eyewear and common sense precautions are important for eye health. “As we approach the summer months it’s a great time to be outdoors-walking, hiking, swimming-going to the beach-and just enjoying all that Alabama has to offer,” commented Ophthalmologist & Corneal Specialist Tyler Hall, M.D. “Keep in mind that with more exposure to the sun and ultraviolet or UV rays on a daily basis, we need to use proper UV eye protection”, remarked Dr. Hall.

UV light-especially from the sun-is known to cause damage to the skin. But, UV exposure can also cause significant damage to eye health and vision. “One of the most concerning things about UV eye damage and injury is that it is cumulative and often doesn’t become noticeable to patients for many years,” said Dr. Hall.

Exposure to UV has been linked to many eye problems and in some instances is thought to quicken the onset of 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.

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. 
Today we have wide range of UV protecting eyeglass lenses available to choose from. Eye protection from UV needs to be complete but doesn’t have to be overly expensive. High quality sunglasses should block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. It is also important to have UV protection in everyday eyewear, which is readily available with a number of UV blocking eyeglass lens materials, specialized coatings and photochromic lenses.

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. These 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 in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham staffed by a team of specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists & Corneal Specialists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser eye surgery such as LASIK for laser vision correction, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and fitting of eyeglasses and eyewear.