Sun Safety: Protect Your Eyes and Vision
In recognition of UV Protection Month the American Optometric Association (AOA) has released a number of interesting facts about the public’s perceptions of the dangers of UV rays and their vision. In addition to the infographic on the left, a recent UV protection press release outlined the findings of the AOA’s 2013 American Eye-Q® survey in which 1000 Americans were asked eye and vision related questions. Here’s what participants had to say about UV protection:
- 40% of consumers cite protection of their eyes from sun damage as the primary reason they wear sunglasses;
- 32% said they wear sunglasses for comfort and reduction of glare;
- Only 28% said UV protection is the most important factor when purchasing sunglasses;
- Just 21% of parents purchased their child’s first pair of sunglasses before the infant’s first birthday.
Research has shown that exposure to UV radiation over a period of months to years increases the chance of developing cataracts, pterygium (an abnormal growth of the covering of the white of the eye onto the cornea), and eye cancer. Long-term exposure ay also cause damage to the retina, which can lead to macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness.
When choosing sunglasses or protective contact lenses, the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP) and the AOA suggest making sure they block more than 95% of UV-A and more than 99% of UV-B radiation. In addition, sunglasses should:
- Screen out 75-90 percent of visible light;
- Be perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfections;
- Have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition of critical objects, such as traffic signals;
- have a frame that fits close to the eyes and is contoured to the shape of the head, in order to prevent exposure to UV radiation from all sides, even behind.
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