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Shade Eyes To Safeguard Vision

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - It may be eye-opening news to many to learn that prolonged  sun exposure without the proper UV protection may cause severe eye conditions  that can lead to a variety of vision disorders but you can protect  yourself and your family.

The Problem

Unfortunately, when it comes to protecting eyesight, only 28 percent of  consumers said UV protection is the most important factor when purchasing  sunglasses, placing a higher priority on glare reduction and comfortable  vision, according to a new survey from the American Optometric Association  (AOA).

If eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation within a short  time frame, such as a day at the beach, a temporary “sunburn” of  the cornea, called photokeratitis, can occur. This painful condition can be  serious and includes symptoms such as red eyes, foreign-body sensation or  gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive  tearing.

Additionally, research has shown that long-term exposure to UV radiation  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. It  can also damage the retina, which may lead to macular degeneration—the  leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S.

What To Do

To help reduce the risks of UV exposure on the eyes, it’s wise to  start taking precautions as early as possible. Because the effects of solar  radiation are cumulative, it’s important to develop good protection  habits early and have infants and children wear proper sunglasses whenever  outdoors.

For optimal eye safety in the sun, wear sunglasses or contact lenses that  offer appropriate UV protection, apply UV-blocking sunscreen around the eye  area, and wear a hat to keep direct sunlight off the face and eyes. In addition,  the AOA recommends that sunglasses should:

• Block more than 95 percent of UVA and more than 99 percent of UVB  radiation

• Screen out 75 to 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.

See The Eye Doctor

Another way to monitor eye health, maintain good vision and keep  up-to-date on the latest in UV protection is by scheduling yearly  comprehensive eye exams. To find an optometrist nearby or for additional  information on UV protection, visit