Americans Aren’t Taking Proper Care to Protect Eyes from UV Damage
Most UV Damage Occurs During Childhood: Doctors Offers Advice on How to Protect Eyes
Jacksonville, FL (May 4, 2011) – Around the world, sight is valued as the most important of the five senses, along with a strong belief that good vision positively impacts quality of life.1 However, while 85 percent of Americans recognize that ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage their eyes, only 65 percent wear sunglasses for protection and even fewer.
“Short-term damage can be hard to notice, but long-term exposure to the sun is a risk factor for harm to the eye and surrounding tissue,” explains Christine W. Sindt, OD, FAAO, Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, University of Iowa and Chair of the American Optometric Association Contact Lens & Cornea Council. “The effects of UV radiation are cumulative over a person’s lifetime, and ocular disorders such as cataracts may not manifest for years, at which point the damage is already done. That’s why parents need to make sure their children get maximum protection from the sun beginning in childhood.”
Compared to adults, children have larger pupils (allowing more light in their eyes), clearer lenses and are outside without eye protection for longer periods more frequently than adults. It is estimated that a significant amount of lifetime exposure to UV rays may occur by age 18 and that children’s annual dose of radiation may be up to three times that of adults.
“Arizona is the sunniest state in the U.S., so I always emphasize the importance of protecting eyes from UV rays to my patients, starting in childhood,” says Dr. Stephen Cohen, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based optometrist and past president of the Arizona Optometric Association.
While most sunglasses can help block UV rays from entering through the lenses, most frame styles do not prevent rays from reaching the sides, top and bottom of the glasses. Hats with brims do not offer protection from UV rays reflected off surfaces like water, sand and pavement. The best protection is a combination of sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and for some, UV-blocking contact lenses. “For those who need vision correction, I recommend UV-absorbing contact lenses which provide an important measure of additional protection,” adds Dr. Cohen. “However, not all contact lenses offer UV protection and, in fact, most do not. Of those that do, not all provide similar absorption levels.”
ACUVUE® OASYS® Brand Contact Lenses carry the Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbing Contact Lenses from both the American Optometric Association and World Council of Optometry’s Commissions on Ophthalmic Standards. These lenses offer the highest level of UV blocking available, blocking more than 90 percent of UV-A rays and 99 percent of UV-B rays that reach the lens.† **
For those who prefer the option of a daily disposable contact lens, 1•DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses offers 82 percent UVA and 97 percent UVB protection.† ** On average, contact lenses without UV-blocking capability allow 90 percent of UVA radiation and 70 percent of UVB radiation to pass through the lenses to your eyes.
Both Drs. Sindt and Cohen note that although UV-blocking contact lenses provide important added protection, they should not be viewed as a stand-alone solution. Contact lenses should always be worn in conjunction with high-quality UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
Important information for contact lens wearers: ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are available by prescription only for vision correction. An eye care professional will determine whether contact lenses are right for you. Although rare, serious eye problems can develop while wearing contact lenses. To help avoid these problems, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care instructions provided by your eye doctor. Do not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection, or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. If one of these conditions occurs, contact your eye doctor immediately. For more information on proper wear, care and safety, talk to your eye care professional and ask for a Patient Instruction Guide, call 1-800-843-2020 or visit Acuvue.com.
1Global Attitudes and Perceptions About Vision Care, THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE™, LLC. To view the Executive Summary, visit www.thevisioncareinstitute.com/globalsurvey .
† Helps protect against transmission of harmful UV radiation to the cornea and into the eye.
* *WARNING: UV-absorbing contact lenses are NOT substitutes for protective UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area. You should continue to use UV-absorbing eyewear as directed. NOTE: Long term exposure to UV radiation is one of the risk factors associated with cataracts. Exposure is based on a number of factors such as environmental conditions (altitude, geography, cloud cover) and personal factors (extent and nature of outdoor activities). UV-Blocking contact lenses help provide protection against harmful UV radiation. However, clinical studies have not been done to demonstrate that wearing UV-Blocking contact lenses reduces the risk of developing cataracts or other eye disorders. Consult your eye care practitioner for more information.
ACUVUE®, ACUVUE® OASYS®, 1•DAY ACUVUE® MOIST®, VISTAKON®, and THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE™ are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.
(39 percent) make sure their children wear sunglasses.1
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