Thursday, July 18, 2013

Enjoying the Sun? Remember to Protect Your Eyes!

July is designated as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. When people think about protecting themselves against the sun’s harmful UV rays, they tend to focus on their skin. However, the same rays can also have damaging effects on unprotected eyes. In fact, studies have shown that long-term UV exposure may cause several conditions, including macular degeneration, which can lead to low vision, cataracts and even cancer.

Remember to put on a pair of shades while slathering on the sunscreen (even during cloudy days!). With so many sunglasses on the market, it may be difficult to determine which ones offer the best protection from the sun. When scoping out your options for sunglasses, look for some of the following features:

  • Ability to block 99 percent or 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays
  • Sunglasses that meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z80.3 blocking requirements
  • UV 400 protection

Wearing broad-brimmed hats can also offer some protection for the eyes.

Dealing with Low Vision Caused by Long-Term UV Exposure
For individuals who suffer from low vision due to long-term UV exposure (or for a variety of other reasons), daily activities such as reading, driving, recognizing faces, and interacting with others can prove to be physically and emotionally challenging. To help improve quality of life for those with low vision, GBMC offers the VIEW (Vision Information Education Wellness), its on-campus low vision retail store, which supplies many non-optical aids such as “talking” clocks, canes for mobility, magnifiers and computer software to assist patients with day-to-day living. It is also a showcase for new low vision technology.

The VIEW is located at 6569 North Charles Street, Physicians Pavilion West, Suite 504 and is open for walk-in customers between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To complement the products available for sale at the VIEW, consider scheduling an appointment at GBMC’s Richard E. Hoover Rehabilitation Services for Low Vision and Blindness. Specialists at Hoover develop individualized plans to help patients of all ages achieve their goals. Additionally, patients have access to an on-site occupational therapist, who also makes in-home visits.

Learn more about Ophthalmology and Low Vision at GBMC – visit or

1 comment:

  1. “When people think about protecting themselves against the sun’s harmful UV rays, they tend to focus on their skin.”—This is true. Many people forget that the eyes are also being targeted by the sun's harmful rays. Especially during summer, we must don a pair of eyewear with UV shields. Long-term UV exposure may render our eyes to become ineffective in the long run.