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Tanning and Excessive Sun Exposure Can Cause Severe Damage to Eyes
Date:4/30/2008

re of the dangers that prolonged contact with ultraviolet rays can pose to their eyes. The survey found that while nearly 80 percent of consumers are aware that UV exposure can cause skin cancer, only 5 percent know it can harm the eyes.

In addition, 57 percent of survey respondents do not wear protective eyewear when in the sun for extended periods of time. And with Americans spending an average of 3.5 hours per day outdoors -- this amounts to more than 1,000 hours of UV damage to their eyes each year. Whether playing on the beach or pulling weeds in the backyard, everyone should wear eyewear that blocks 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays in conjunction with a brimmed hat. Wraparound sunglasses are the most effective in protecting the delicate skin around the eyes as well.

Children are also susceptible to UV damage and should be encouraged to wear UV-blocking eyewear for all daytime outdoor adventures, specifically between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when UV rays are the most intense. Eye protection should even be worn during overcast days.

People who have had cataract surgery or other retinal disorders, and people who take certain medicines, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers, are also at special risk for eye damage.

Prevent Blindness America has dedicated May as UV Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the best way to protect their eyes from UV damage. In fact, the national non-profit group has a dedicated Web resource, the "Prevent Blindness America UV Learning Center," sponsored by Transitions Optical, Inc., which provides free information on UV, tips on purchasing the best eye protection and even a quiz to test UV knowledge. Consumers are invited to log on to http://www.preventblindness.org/uv. The group also offers a free brochure, "Protecting Your Eyes from the Sun."

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SOURCE Prevent Blindness America
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