Prevent Blindness has declared May as UV Awareness Month to help educate the public on the dangers of UV and steps to take to protect vision today and in the future.
There are different types of UV. UV-A radiation has lower energy and penetrates deep into the eye, which may injure the macula, the part of the retina responsible for sight in the center field of vision. UV-B radiation is presumably more dangerous and is mainly absorbed by the cornea and lens of the eye and can damage those tissues.
Prevent Blindness strongly recommends that both adults and children always wear both a wide-brimmed hat or cap and the proper UV-rated sunglasses.
Wrap-around sunglasses are best as they protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes. For UV protection in everyday eyewear, there are several options such as UV-blocking lens materials, coatings and photochromic lenses. UV protection does not always cost a lot of money and does not get in the way of seeing clearly. There are also many types of sports eye protection glasses that offer UV protection as well.
Prevent Blindness recommends speaking with an eye care professional to ensure the proper eye protection is being used no matter what the outdoor activity may be.
“Because UV damage to the eyes can be immediate, like corneal sunburns, and cumulative, causing cataracts and macular degeneration, it is imperative that we protect our eyes and encourage our kids to practice the same healthy habits to protect our vision for years to come,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.
For more information on the dangers of UV exposure and how to choose the best UV protection, please visit the Prevent Blindness dedicated Web page at preventblindness.org/uv or call (800) 331-2020.