May is Healthy Vision and Ultraviolet Awareness Month
What is Healthy Vision Month?
Healthy Vision Month is sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology to promote awareness of eye health, prevent eye diseases and reduce vision loss.
Eye Care America is a program of The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology with volunteer ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) who provide free eye exams (and medical care for up to one year for conditions diagnosed on the initial visit) for people over 65 years of age for those who qualify.
Simple daily measures can prevent vision loss such as wearing sunglasses, wearing safety glasses when working outside or in the home, taking care of your contact lens, eating healthy, not smoking and getting regular eye exams.1
Learn more about eye safety in the home and workplace by visiting the April article on Sports and Workplace Eye Safety.
What are common eye diseases?
What is Ultraviolet Awareness Month?
Ultraviolet Awareness Month is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America to increase awareness of how UV rays can damage your eyes, increase your risk of cataracts and cancers of the eye especially in high-risk patients. UV protection with sunglasses is recommended in everyone, not only those that work outside, and can be preventive.
Sunglasses should be 100% UV-absorbent for UVA and UVB or be labeled UV400. Another useful tip is wearing a brimmed hat, especially when outdoors in the sun for a prolonged period of time. Be extra cautious for children especially in mid-day and when sun is reflected off the water, snow or ice. Some people who have had cataract surgery with the newer intraocular lens implants have UV protection on their implants as well but should still wear sunglasses when outdoors.
What kind of cancers can occur in the eye or surrounding areas?
Various skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas, melanomas) can occur on the eyelids, on the surface of the eye and even inside of the eye. Risk factors include prolonged sun exposure or in tanning beds, fair-skinned individuals, Caucasians, light-colored eyes, smoking and a family history.
May 5th, 2014 is “Melanoma Monday” this year. It is a usually the first Monday of May and sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology. They also sponsor free cancer screenings in different areas of the country.
While ocular melanoma is rare, it is the most common eye cancer in adults. Regular dilated eye exams, especially in high risk patients, can provide early diagnosis and treatment. Treatment options include observation, localized radiation therapy and surgery.
Keep your eyes protected and healthy with UV protection, a healthy diet, exercise, no smoking and regular eye exams with your eye physician.