Louisville, KY (June 8, 2011) – Many Kentuckians will be spending time outdoors this summer – boating, laying on a beach at a lake or just spending time in the yard. But spending too much time outdoors can be harmful to a person’s vision and can cause serious and potentially chronic eye conditions. The sun’s UV-A and UV-B rays can have long- and short-term impacts on a person’s eyes and vision, including for children.
“Just one day of overexposure to the sun can damage a child’s cornea, leading to cataracts later in life,” said Dr. Mark Lynn, owner/operator of more than 45 Dr. Bizer’s VisionWorld, Doctor’s VisionWorks and Doctor’s ValuVision in five states. “Even on an overcast day, UV rays can burn the skin around the eyes as well as damage the cornea. It’s never too late for kids or adults to start wearing sunglasses.”
According to the American Optometric Association, damage to the eye caused by UV rays tends to develop over a period of time. While previous damage cannot be reversed, future damage to a person’s eyes can be prevented, especially at a young age. The American Optometric Association reports overexposure to the sun without protection can cause an increased risk of developing certain types of cataracts or damage to the retina, which could result in blindness. In addition, the eyes can develop the following conditions:
• Benign growths on the surface of the eyes
• Photokeratitis – a temporary and painful sunburn on the surface of the eye
• Cancer (of the eyelids and/or skin around the eyes)
Experts recommend parents wear sunglasses with ultraviolet protection so their children may be more inclined to wear eye protection as well. Experts also suggest allowing children to select a sunglass style of their choice so they will be more apt to wear the glasses.
It is important to wear sunglasses outdoors when walking, driving, working, playing sports, running errands, etc. for prolonged periods of time. It is especially important for children to wear sunglasses, since they spend so much time outdoors. According to the American Optometric Association, adults and children should wear sunglasses that:
• Block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays
• Screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light
• Are perfectly matched in color and absorption and are free of distortion and imperfection
• Provide the most natural color vision. Gray lenses are strongly recommended since they reduce light intensity without altering the color of objects.
For more information, visit the American Optometric Association at www.aoa.org.