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Ask the Experts: UV Safety

by Dr. David Tremblay

What’s the best UV protection for the eyes?

You’ve been told since you were a child that UV light from the sun is harmful. But why? UV rays (both UVA and UVB) damage DNA within the cells in skin and other tissues. This DNA damage results in aging of the cells and can even cause cancer. The eyes are especially susceptible to UV damage, leading to problems like early cataract formation, retinal degeneration or tumors, or tumors of the skin around the eyes and eyelids. Fortunately, these harmful effects are largely preventable as long as you follow a few basic rules.

Sunglasses are the first line of defense from harmful UV rays, but not all sunglasses are equal. The most important factor when buying sunglasses is to ensure they block UV light, specifically BOTH UVA and UVB. Most sunglasses manufactured now do this, but you still want to confirm. Most sunglasses advertise UV protection with a sticker or label. Don’t make any assumptions, though, because some very expensive designer brands do NOT include UV protection. Make sure you purchase a frame that is large with good coverage. Small, narrow frames will still allow UV rays to come in contact with delicate areas around the eyes.

Sunscreen is the second line of defense. When applying sunscreen to the face, many often neglect the area around the eyes for fear of causing irritation or burning. The skin around the eyes and lids is very thin, making it especially susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays. You will have to experiment with various formulations to find one that is comfortable to wear. Luckily, we are now blessed with a plethora of natural, plant-based, non-animal tested, non-GMO, gluten-free versions, so there should be a formulation for everyone!

The experienced eye care providers at Mann Eye Institute can guide you and help protect your sight. See us today to See Life Better.

 

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