How You Can Protect Your Eyes from UV Light Damage



Written by: Alan Mendelsohn, MD

The connection between Ultraviolet Light (UV) and skin cancer are well known.

And we diligently apply sunscreen as a means of protection and prevention.

But there are additional dangers to the ever-present sunlight in Florida.

Ultraviolet Light (“UV Light”) is also a known significant contributor to the development and progression of damaging eye diseases including eyelid cancers, growths on the outer exposed areas of the eyeball such as pingueculas and pterygium, cataracts, drusen, macular degeneration and ocular melanomas.

And we in South Florida are at a greater risk than those living up North because of our proximity to the equator.

The best source of protection and prevention for eye diseases is sunglasses.

The problem is the vast majority of sunglasses sold in the United States offer negligible to zero protection. Prominent researchers advocate for all of us to wear sunglasses with maximal protection on the front and back surfaces of lenses consisting of UV400 blocker and polarization. This sunglass protection greatly reduces the incidence and severity of damage.

Unfortunately, many people, despite wearing sunglasses are essentially “naked” outdoors. High end sunglasses do not necessarily afford a high level of protection. Even when we are driving or when it is cloudy outside, our eyes need to be protected. It is therefore essential for us to read labels and only buy sunglasses which are polarized AND have a UV400 blocker.

It may be a high price to pay. But isn’t protecting your eyes worth the cost of your sunglasses?


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