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Don't Forget your Sunscreen

"Don't forget your sunscreen!" is what many of us have heard or said numerous times. What eye doctors would love to start hearing is "Don't forget your sunglasses!"

UV Alert

While 95% of the general population know that the sun's UV radiation can damage our skin, only 7% know that it can damage our eyes! Our eyes are continuously exposed to sunlight no matter what time of year.

Protecting our eyes from UV exposure is imperative to our overall health. The Skin Cancer Foundation discovered that 10% if skin cancers are found on the eyelid. Macular Degeneration is the number one cause of blindness in people 50 and over and one of its major risk factors is UV exposure. But what good are these incredible facts if people don't know about them!

Glasses may be considered a fashion statement but they serve a very important service: protecting our eyes and surrounding tissues! Some people may have heard the amazing statistic that we receive 80% of our UV exposure before we are 18 but the Skin Cancer Foundation actually places that number much lower at 23%. It still remains that kids do get around three times the UV exposure as adults. 

So why don't we see more children wearing sunglasses?

To stress their importance, remember that seat belts, sunscreen, and bike helmets were not considered necessary thirty years ago, but now common sense and even laws dictate their use. Sunglasses are that important considering that sun damage is cumulative and exposure starts from birth.

All lenses labeled as blocking 100% of UV offer the same about of protection whether they cost $3 or $300. Styles that wrap around your head can help block more sunlight from the sides while also helping protect against wind. Options like polarization and anti-glare coating can help even the most light sensitive people see comfortably on those sunny days.

Now that you are armed with a wealth of knowledge, feel confident to choose that perfect pair of sunglasses!

Author Dr. Nick Engle — Published May 1, 2014

Posted In Eye Safety