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Keep an Eye on Ultraviolent (UV) Safety

Summer may be winding down, but protecting your eyes against the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is important throughout the year.

Ophthalmologists warn that too much exposure to the sun's UV rays can increase the risk of a variety of eye diseases, including cataracts, cancer and benign growths on the eye’s surface.

Cataracts are caused by a myriad of factors including excessive UV exposure over many years. Ocular melanoma, a cousin of melanoma of the skin, is a very serious, life-threatening disease. Risk factors include advanced age, many years of sun exposure, light skin and blue eye color. Skin cancers, including basal cell carcinomas of the eyelids are common. Their treatment is much more involved than tumors elsewhere in order to preserve proper eyelid function to protect the eye.

Benign growths on the eye’s surface (pterygium and pinguecula) are very common, usually not serious, but occasionally cosmetically unacceptable. The nearer to the equator one is raised and the greater time spent outdoors, the greater the likelihood of development. This growth may remain small or grow large enough to interfere with vision.

People of all ages, from babies to seniors, should take careful precautions by wearing hats and sunglasses when spending time outdoors.

Follow these tips to protect your eyes and eyelids from the sun all year long:
• Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat or cap outdoors
• Don't be fooled by clouds - the sun's rays pass through haze and thin clouds.

Prevention is the key to keeping your eyes healthy. The professionals at Coastal Jersey Eye Center can help protect your eyes from damaging UV radiation and all other eye disorders.