-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A good pair of sunglasses
can help protect your eyes from sun-related damage, so you need to
know what to look for when shopping for a new pair, experts
Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun is
associated with a number of eye conditions, including cataracts,
skin cancer on the eyelid and around the eyes, melanoma of the eye,
and benign growths on the surface of the eye, according to
researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
In the United States, there are no federal standards for
sunglasses and labels are inconsistent and confusing. Tags or
stickers that say "blocks UV" or "UV absorbent" are meaningless
because they don't tell you how much UV is blocked.
Your best bet is to look for sunglasses that claim to block most
or all UV. For example, "99-100 percent UV absorbent" or "UV 400."
However, there is no independent verification for such claims, so
you might want to have an optician test your sunglasses to find out
if they block all or most UV, the UC Berkeley researchers noted in
a university news release.
For those not in the market for a new pair of shades, it might
be a good idea to have your old sunglasses tested, because
scratches and abrasions can wear down UV coating over time. An
optician can also put a UV-protective coat on sunglasses.
Be aware that darker lenses don't necessarily provide greater UV
protection. And, darker lenses that don't block UV can be more
harmful than wearing no sunglasses at all because they cause pupils
to open wider and allow more UV to enter your eyes.
The larger the frames of your sunglasses, the better.
Wrap-around sunglasses block light coming in through the side,
according to the news release, but they may cause distortion.
Everyone should wear sunglasses when spending time outdoors,
including children (their eyes are especially vulnerable to UV) and
people who wear contact lenses. Even if contacts are UV-treated,
they don't cover the whole eye.
Sunglasses are essential for people who are sun-sensitive due to
medications or other reasons, and for those who have had cataract
surgery. Light-colored eyes are particularly vulnerable to UV,
according to the news release.
Prevent Blindness America has more about
protecting your eyes from the sun.
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