Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here Comes the Sun Are Your Eyes Ready for It

Sun is a problem for eyes as well as skin ...

"Most people know the harmful effects – such as premature aging and skin cancer – that ultraviolet (UV) rays can have on their skin. But many are not aware of the damage that UV rays can cause to the eyes. Possibly the most frightening aspect of UV damage is that it is cumulative; the negative effects may not present themselves until years later.

A recent survey sponsored by Transitions Optical Inc. revealed that although 82 percent of respondents knew that extended exposure to the sun could cause skin cancer, only 9 percent knew it could damage vision. Additionally, only one in six respondents said they wear sunglasses when they prepare for extended exposure to the sun and only one-third said they wear a hat.

“Most of us wouldn’t dream of staying outside in the sun without putting on sunscreen lotion,” said Daniel Garrett, senior vice president of Prevent Blindness America. “But we also have to remember to wear both UV-blocking lenses and a brimmed hat to protect our eyes as well.”

Protecting the Eyes

Eyes can be protected from UV rays in two important ways: By knowing the dangers of UV rays (see sidebar) and by wearing proper eye protection and hats that block UV rays.

UV rays can come from many directions. Although they radiate directly from the sun, they also are reflected from the ground, water, snow, sand, glass, road and other bright surfaces.

Prevent Blindness America counsels anyone working or playing outside to use eyewear that absorbs UV rays and to wear a brimmed hat or cap. A wide-brimmed hat or cap will block about half of UV rays, according to the experts at Prevent Blindness America. A brimmed hat or cap also can limit UV rays that hit the eyes from above or around glasses.

Eyewear that absorbs UV rays offers the most protection. All types of eyewear, including prescription and non-prescription glasses, contact lenses and lens implants, should absorb UV-A and UV-B rays. For UV protection in everyday eyewear, there are several options, including UV-blocking lens materials, coatings and photochromic lenses. UV protection does not cost a lot of money and does not get in the way of seeing clearly."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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