Monday, July 1, 2013

Don’t forget about your eye health this summer

Slather on sunscreen. Drink lots of water. Spray on bug repellent. Wear a wide brim hat.

There’s a lot we can do to protect our health before heading out for Fourth of July picnics or other fun summer activities.  But, according to our summer savvy regional medical director, Dr. Phil Benditt, one area of health many of us neglect to protect in the summer is our eye health.

So, I asked Dr. Phil to tell me more…

According to Dr. Phil, the same ultraviolet radiation that causes sun burns can also cause serious eye damage.  Both long-wave UVA rays and short-wave UVB rays are known to contribute to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration, which can result in blindness.

Many people may not be aware that intense short-term exposure to ultraviolet light can cause “eye sunburn,” a painful condition associated with long hours of outdoor recreational activity.  Long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation can also lead to skin cancer around the eyes.

Sunglasses and a wide-brim had can protect your eyes from the sun.  Ideally, sunglasses should block out 99 percent or more of both UVA and UVB radiation.

For those who prefer a cool indoor movie theater to the heat outside, Dr. Phil says 3-D movies are also an opportunity to check up on your eye health.  The American Optometry Association’s (AOA) report, “3D in the Classroom” states that 3-D movies have the potential to help identify vision problems that may otherwise go unnoticed.  After watching a 3-D movie, if you or a family member experience blurred vision, dizziness, discomfort, double vision, or eye fatigue, schedule a visit with your eye doctor.  According to the AOA report, about one in four children might have vision problems that may be detected with 3-D viewing.

So, whatever eye wear you are sporting this weekend – sunglasses or 3-D – have a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday!

Dr. Health E. Hound sporting his favorite eye wear

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