Improving Eyesight – Protecting Your Eyes from the Environment

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,710
    Dr. Stephen Rose discusses the simple steps that you can take in your everyday life, whether at work or at play, to protect your eyes from harm and keep your vision sharp.

    Dr. Stephen Rose: Hi! My name is Dr. Stephen Rose from the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Today, I am here to talk to you about the different ways that you should protect your eyes to keep them safe, healthy and functioning at their best.

    Throughout the day from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we go to sleep at night, our eyes encounter countless hazards.

    Elements in our natural environment like sunshine and even dust particles, and things that we can encounter on the job or at play can harm our eyes. But there are simple steps that you can take in your everyday life to protect your eyes and keep your vision sharp.

    Let's start with our natural environment. We all know that the sun's rays can be harmful to our unprotected skin, but did you know that just as harmful to your unprotected eyes UV damage to the eyes is cumulative meaning it builds up overtime and extended exposure to the sun UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

    Children are more susceptible to UV damage than adults because they tend to spend more time outside than adults. According to the American Optometric Association, children are at a greater risk of UV damage because the lenses in their eyes are more transparent, which allows more damaging light to reach their retina.

    A general rule of thumb is to protect your eyes whenever you are in the sun long enough to get a sun tan or a sun burn.

    Here are some ways to protect your eyes when you are outside. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays.

    Dr. Alexander Smith: The most important thing when you are buying a sunglass is, make sure you have a 100% UV coating; you want to have UVA and UVB 100%. So if you see that the sticker says 70% 90% then just keep on look until you find 100%.

    Dr. Stephen Rose: You should also pay attention to the coverage that your sunglasses provide. Recommendations are no more than 30% of the sunlight should reach your eyes.

    Dr. Alexander Smith: So like one of the newer styles that we have is the bigger sunglasses that we are wearing that's actually really good thing because it blocks it from all angles.

    Dr. Stephen Rose: This is especially important if you are on the water, sand or snow, which reflect the sun's rays plus wearing a brimmed hat cuts sunlight exposure to your eyes by about half.

    Polarize lenses are not necessary for UV protection, but they do cut glare from reflective surfaces. Be sure the sunglasses feel comfortable; otherwise you won't wear them for long periods of time.

    Now that we have discussed how to protect your eyes from the natural elements, let's discuss the best ways to protect them from injury.

    According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 2.

    5 million eye injuries occur every year in the US.

    Eye injuries can happen most anywhere. The good news is that experts say that 90% of eye injuries could be prevented. It just takes a little extra vigilance in situations where your eyes are vulnerable.

    Let's starts with sports related injuries. More than 100,000 sport related eye injuries occur each year in this country. So let's talk about how we can protect our eyes when we are in play.

    For all age groups, sports related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racket sports. So when you are on the field, quartering, be sure to wear the protective glasses that shield you from the front and all sides.

    Remember, almost all sports-related eye injuries can be prevented, whatever your game, whatever your age, you need to protect your eyes.

    Now let's talk about protecting our eyes from injury off the sports field.

    Dr. Alexander Smith: Pretty much anytime you are doing any kind of yard work, anytime you are in the garage, working with anything where there is dust flying, tools; you want to make sure you have eye shields or eye guards. It's very important because anything flies up, I mean, enough have people that get metal in their eyes, they get grass; lots of things that can cause infections, inflammations and issues.

    Dr. Stephen Rose: Don't use your eye glasses as protective eyewear. Not only do glasses not provide the coverage around your eyes but they are also not sturdy enough to adequately protect your eyes from flying objects.

    Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate which is ten times stronger than other plastics.

    Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear as do some sporting goods stores. If a foreign body does enter your eye, don't rub your eye; instead wash it with plenty of water. If acid or any other chemical gets into your eyes, immediately wash them with plenty of water and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Whether on the playing field, at work or at home, accidents happen.

    Take the proper precautions and protect your eyes before you begin the task at hand and you can prevent injuries and protect your precious vision.

    If you would like to learn more, visit fightblindness.

    org and check out our other videos on tips for healthy eyes including ways to fight fatigue and keep your eyes strong.