Don’t Forget Sunglasses: Think of them as Sunblock for Your Eyes

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. The holiday traditionally kicks off the summer season. That means boating out on the lake, lazy days at the beach, yard work, and long road trips.

As you get ready for all of your summer activities, you’ll probably run by the store and pick up some sunscreen and slather it on before you head out. While you’re at it, don’t forget to get some sunglasses. After all, you should “think of sunglasses as sunblock for your eyes.” tm

Wearing sunglasses isn’t just about making a fashion statement, or even comfort. They may actually serve as an important line of defense against eye cancer.

Sun can damage tissues in your eyes just like it does the skin. Of course, you can’t rub sunscreen on your eyes. That’s why you need to have (and wear) ultraviolet blocking sunglasses.

And ultraviolet blocking is key.

To protect your eyes, you need quality sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. You want to wear sunglasses that block all UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Many optical shops have a machine called a photometer that measures UV transmission through glasses. You want to make sure your sunglasses filter out all UV radiation or light under 400 nm in wavelength.

Ocular melanoma is the most common primary eye tumor in adults. Doctors diagnose around 2,000 new cases every year. These tumors are closely related to skin cancer. Since exposure to the sun is a known risk factor for skin, eyelids and conjunctival cancers, it follows that UV rays from the sun may also increase the risk of developing this form of eye cancer. There is circumstantial evidence linking exposure to sunlight and ocular melanoma. This form of eye cancer is more common in patients with blue eyes, arc-welders and those who work in outdoor occupations.

So don’t take a chance. Make sure you have sunblock for your eyes – a quality pair of sunglasses.

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