Eye Health Awareness: Sunglasses Are Not Just for Looks

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Each year, 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with Macular Degeneration and more than 22 million Americans have cataracts. Both eye health problems can be brought on by years of UV damage . While protecting your eyes from the sun is vital, there are other steps to follow in order to maintain healthy vision.

A report by The Vision Council found that 75 percent of Americans are concerned about UV rays damaging their eyes, but only 31 percent actually make an effort to protect themselves. Justin Bazan, OD medical adviser to The Vision Council is on record in an article by Newsmax that UV damage to eyes can start in as little as 15 minutes.

The same report by The Vision Council found that most people realize UV rays are harmful to the skin and can even cause skin cancer. However, only 31 percent knew that eyes could actually get sunburned; 31 percent knew that UV rays can cause cataracts and 21 percent knew that there is a link between UV rays and age-related macular degeneration.

The survey showed that 39 percent of Americans only wear sunglasses when they know they will be outside for more than two hours and just 44 percent are likely to take them to the beach.

The type of glasses used for sun protection is also key. The Vision Council recommends that users obtain glasses designed for their specific lifestyle and that contain UVA AND UVB protection.

Other Ways to Maintain Eye Health

In addition to protecting your eyes from the sun, other measures can be taken to boost eye health. The National Eye Institute recommends the following tips to maintain proper eye health :

• Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This is the only way to detect diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease.

• Know your family’s eye health history. Many eye disease are hereditary and this will help you find out if you are at higher risk of developing an eye disease.

• Eat the right foods. Carrots are known as the go-to for eye health, but other foods such as kale, spinach, collard greens and fish, high in omega-3 fatty acids, can be beneficial as well.

• Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight could increase your chance of developing diabetes which can lead to vision loss, diabetic eye disease or glaucoma.

• Wear protective eye wear. Especially, protect eyes during participation in certain sports, activities or even if you have a job that requires protective eyewear.

• Smoking has been linked to the development of age-related macular degeneration, cataract and optic nerve damage — all of which can lead to blindness.

• Give your eyes a break. If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, your eyes can get fatigued. Every 20 minutes look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds; this can reduce the strain to your eyes.

• Wash your hands and contact lenses. To avoid infection, make sure your hands are clean before touching your contact lenses, and remember to clean the lenses properly before each use.

Evolution of the Human Eye

Check out this new video produced by Essilor on the evolution of the human eye. Narrated by scientist Alom Shaha, it outlines how each part of the eye has formed, challenging the concept of “Irreducible Complexity”. The video also highlights the importance of protecting our vision health.