NEW YORK (April 2014) — Overexposure to the sun not only wreaks havoc on your skin, but can also damage your eyes. Dr. George Cioffi, chief of ophthalmology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Christopher Starr, director of refractive surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian /Weill Cornell Medical Center, offer facts about sunglasses and sun exposure that everyone should know before purchasing that next pair.
• Wear sunglasses year-round. Even on cloudy days the UV index can be dangerously high.
• Overexposure to the sun can cause damage to the cornea, tissue growth on the surface of eyes, as well as skin cancer on the eyelids.
• Sun damage may contribute to the development of cataracts.
• All protective eyewear should have side-shield or wraparound protection so light cannot enter the eye from side reflections.
• Check the label. Sunglasses labeled UV400 offer more than 95 percent UV protection, which is the recommended level of protection (not all sunglasses are labeled).
• People who wear contact lenses that offer UV protection should still wear sunglasses.
• Sunglasses don’t have to be dark to offer protection. Neutral gray, amber, brown, and green lenses can block at least 80 percent of transmissible light.
• Children’s eyes are not able to block UV rays as well as adults’ eyes.
• People with light-colored eyes are at higher risk for sun damage to the eyes and need to protect them year-round.
• If you don’t have wraparound sunglasses, wear a hat with at least a three-inch brim that can block sunlight from overhead.
• Sunglasses are helpful for preventing the drying effect caused when wind meets contact lenses
• Small infants should always be shaded from direct exposure to the sun.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.
This article originally appeared on the NewYork-Presbyterian website.