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Renowned Eye Surgeon, Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center, Explains Top Five Reasons Some Eyes Are More Susceptible to Sun Damage

Wed, Jun 27th 2012 09:30 am
Nashville, TN

Human eyes occupy less than 2 percent of the body's surface and can sometimes be left unprotected against the sun's harmful rays. Age, environment, and wearing the wrong type of sunglasses may all contribute to potential eye damage, vision impairment and blindness. Dr. Stewart Shofner explains five reasons why some eyes are more susceptible to the sun's harmful rays and how to prevent eye damage.

1)    Age.  Dr. Shofner says, "Parents sometimes forget that children are especially susceptible to eye damage from exposure to the sun's ultra violet radiation." Overall, children potentially are affected by environmental hazards much more than adults. In younger children, the pupils are sometimes larger and lenses clearer allowing in more UV light. Keep babies in the shade while outdoors and shield them from direct sunlight using a sunshade, hat, clothing, and baby sunglasses.

2)    Facial Features.  Who knew those thick brows and long lashes actually help to   protect the pupils? Eyes are typically recessed within the head and shielded by the brow ridge, the eyebrows and the eyelashes. Eyelids and squinting may also help block the light during short stints in the sun, but not the UV rays. No matter what your facial features, Dr. Shofner highly suggests those with or without protective facial features should wear a wide-brimmed hat and protective sunglasses (see tip #5) to reduce the amount of UV rays from reaching your eyes. "If you are squinting, your eyes are in danger," says Dr. Shofner

3)    Environment.  During extreme conditions of sun exposure, including ground reflection from snow, water and sand, additional protection is necessary. Snow and water actually reflects UV radiation very effectively. Skiers, mountain climbers and others that participate in outdoor activities are prone to extreme UV levels due to the high altitude conditions and strong ground reflection, may experience photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea, the surface of the eyeball).

4)    Timing.  The old saying "timing is everything" also applies to reducing the chance of eye damage. Just as so many find out what allergens are lurking in the air before stepping out, one should also watch for the UV index before planning outdoor activities. Limit midday sun, as UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm. In addition to wearing UV protected sunglasses, stay in the shade, wear protective clothing, hats and apply a "broad spectrum" sunscreen (15+ SPF). Broad spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.

5)    Fashion.  Sunglasses are not just a fashion statement, buying a variety of colorful specs should protect your vision not just enhance your outfit. Dr. Shofner suggests when outdoors, wear sunglasses that offer dark lenses and provide 99 to 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection. Dr. Shofner also mentioned, "the best sunglasses are wide or wraparound to shield sunlight from penetrating through the sides." Following this tip will help prevent age related eye diseases, especially cataracts (cloudy formations on the lens inside the eye), and photokeratitis.

About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center offers affordable family eye care, Lasik/PRK, cataract surgery in a No Fear - No Pressure environment by caring professionals. Their staff members pay close attention to details to ensure every patient is provided with the best experience at Shofner Vision Center. While sungazing and sunbathing may be a priority for some, many of us venture outdoors for fresh air, Vitamin D and little bit of sunshine (safely) to get through the day. Dr. Shofner stresses if bright light irritates your eyes while wearing sunglasses, it could be a sign of a corneal abrasion,uveitis, cataracts or another eye problem; we advise you contact Shofner Vision Center (615) 340.4733 or your local ophthalmologist quickly for a consult.

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