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SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology
Results of American Academy of Ophthalmology's Harris Poll show need for greater awareness of factors that increase sun sensitivity
SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Ophthalmology today released results of a Harris Poll that shows that a majority of Americans are unaware that taking common drugs and having light-colored eyes can make people more vulnerable to UV exposure, a contributing factor to certain eye diseases and conditions.
Studies have shown that, in addition to skin cancers, accumulated ultraviolet exposure from the sun can heighten the risk of eye diseases such eye cancer and cataracts, a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Intense UV exposure can also cause temporary blindness known as photokeratitis, while extended sun exposure is linked to growths such as pterygium, or surfer's eye.
To assess how much Americans know about eye health risks posed by UV rays and what people do to protect themselves, the American Academy of Ophthalmology – the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons – commissioned a national Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults. The results revealed two major gaps in UV safety knowledge:
Ophthalmologists recommend that all individuals – especially those with increased photosensitivity – wear 100 percent UV-safe sunglasses. While the survey found that 83 percent of Americans wear sunglasses, only half (47 percent) said they check for a UV protection label before buying them. Also, less than a third (32 percent) make their kids wear UV-blocking sunglasses.
"Wearing 100 percent UV-protective sunglasses is one of the easiest and the most important things children and adults can do to protect their eye health," said ophthalmologist Anne Sumers, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "It isn't just about fashion or comfort – it's about preserving your sight! So make wearing sunglasses a priority, especially if you have light eyes, work outdoors or take certain medications."
Tips to Protect Your Eyes
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following tips to protect the eyes from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation:
The American Academy of Ophthalmology promotes UV safety throughout the year. Learn more about how to protect your eyes and get additional sunglasses shopping tips at the Academy's public education website, GetEyeSmart.org.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons - Eye M.D.s - with more than 32,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who has the education and training to treat it all: eye diseases, infections and injuries, and perform eye surgery. For more information, visit www.aao.org. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.
About the Survey
Harris Poll conducted the survey online within the United States on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthalmology between March 31 and April 2, 2014, among 2,027 adults ages 18 and over who reside in the U.S. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and complete definition of direct selling, please email email@example.com.
 Poll results showed:
 Sandra, C. et al. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004;122(5):750-757
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