SOURCE: Harvard Eye Associates

May 16, 2008 13:30 ET

Harvard Eye Associates Expert Warns Against Sun Damage to the Eyes

Keeping an Eye on Summer UV

LAGUNA HILLS, CA--(Marketwire - May 16, 2008) - Most people know to protect their skin from the damaging rays of the sun, especially at the height of summer, but few people realize that exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to eye disorders such as cataract, pterygium and cancers of the eye and eyelids. Expert ophthalmologist and eye plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs of Harvard Eye Associates, based in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, cautions patients to limit and protect themselves from sun exposure when levels of UV radiation are particularly high -- between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Especially on overcast days, at high altitude, or on reflective surfaces such as water and sand, UV rays are particularly damaging.

Protecting Your Eyes from UV

The best protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light is to simply limit sun exposure. But for sun lovers or those who simply can't avoid the sun, Dr. Jacobs says there are measures to help protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around your eyes from damaging UV light.

--  Wear sunglasses with UV blocking lenses.  Polarized lenses cut
    reflected glare and are perfect for driving, golf, skiing, boating and the
    beach.
    
--  Contact lens wearers can obtain UV blocking contact lenses that can
    help protect the eye, although these lenses are not a substitute for UV
    blocking sunglasses.
    
--  Wear a broad brimmed hat to further reduce exposure to UV rays and
    protect the delicate skin around the eyes.
    
--  Minimize sun exposure at midday (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) and avoid
    sunlamps, tanning beds and tanning parlors.
    
--  Use a sunscreen on the eyelids and around the eyes such as a new
    micronized zinc oxide sunblocks specially formulated for use around the
    eyes.
    

Dr. Jacobs advises, "While modern surgical treatments and techniques can help repair much of the UV related damage to the eyes and skin tissue around the eyes, the best defense is prevention."

Jeffrey L. Jacobs, M.D., F.A.C.S. has specialized in eye plastic and reconstructive surgery for over 10 years. He received his medical doctorate from Columbia University and was fellowship trained at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA.

For more information, contact Harvard Eye Associates at (800) 974.3937 or visit www.harvardeye.com.

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