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NWHRC Releases the Top Ways to Protect Your Eyes From the Sun

New Fast Facts Tell Women What They Need to Know to Protect Themselves and Their Family From the Sun's Dangerous Rays

Red Bank, NJ: Just as significant exposure to the sun in childhood is a leading risk factor for skin cancer in adulthood, so, too, is it a risk factor for later eye damage. In its newest Fast Facts publication, The Sun & Your Eyes: What You Should Know, the not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) provides information on how the sun's rays affect your eyes and offers advice on how to lessen the risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

"Whether you're beach bound in the summer or hitting the slopes in the winter, your eyes can suffer serious damage from UV rays," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of the NWHRC. "Just as we protect our skin from sunburns, we should also make sure our eyes are protected as we enjoy all our outside activities."

Ways you can protect your eyes from sun damage include:

  • Understand ultraviolet radiation (UVR). There are three ranges of UVR: UV-C, UV-B and UV-A. Most eye damage is a result of UV-B rays, which some researchers suspect may contribute to cataract development and eye cancer.

  • Start early. Researchers estimate we receive 80 percent of our lifetime exposure to UVR rays before age 18. Additionally, children's eyes transmit more UVA rays to the retina than adults', increasing their exposure and risk of later eye damage.

  • Wear sunglasses. Look for sunglasses that transmit no more than one percent UVB and one percent UVA. The lenses should be dark and large enough to completely cover the eye to prevent sunlight from seeping through the sides of the glasses.

  • Get added protection with contact lenses. If you wear contacts, you might already be protecting your eyes. Some contact lenses provide UV ray protection, although the protection levels may vary. Class one UV-blockers provide the greatest measure of protection.

  • Wear hats. A wide brimmed hat can shade your eyes from the sun.

  • Don't forget your skin. Protect your skin with SPF sunscreen of at least 15, preferably 30. Re-apply it often, using at least three tablespoons of lotion with each application.

For a complimentary copy of the NWHRC's Fast Facts, The Sun & Your Eyes: What You Need to Know and to learn more about women and vision, log onto or call 1-877-986-9472.

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