The Dangers of Sun Exposure
It’s now June, with summer close on the horizon (even though it doesn’t feel like it yet!) Did you know? Repeated exposure of the eyes to sunlight (even during Fall and Winter) has many negative effects:
- Short term: risk of photokeratitis (corneal inflammation – like a “sunburn of the eye”)
- Longer term: Retinal damage, increased risk of cataracts, pterygium (a growth in the corner of the eye) and pinguecula (a lesion on the surface tissue of the white part of your eye)
- From a cosmetic perspective, we all know that over time, the very sensitive skin that surrounds your eyes will naturally get thinner, drier, and start to wrinkle. Ongoing exposure to the sun will accelerate this process – and can cause skin cancer.
The Importance of Comprehensive Annual Eye Exams
Children and adults alike need complete eye exams yearly – not only to check for refractive error, but also for conditions such as infection, the aforementioned sun damage, injuries, dry eye, and “lazy eye,” as well as more serious diseases including cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and even cancer. In addition to prescribing vision correction, eye exams will screen for problems with your eye health and your eye care provider will recommend treatment options; in the meantime, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Accept No Substitutes
An annual eye exam will detect the above, and your eye doctor can provide treatment options where available. To prevent sun damage, invest in a good pair of sunglasses with total UVA/UVB protection (in your prescription if you need vision correction); polarized lenses virtually eliminate glare, increasing visual comfort, making driving safer, and improving visibility on the water (making polarized lenses the ideal choice if you fish, sail, surf, kayak, etc.). Quality sunwear will protect your eyes and should be worn all year ‘round, even during months with fewer daylight hours, and in overcast conditions – up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate cloud cover and reach your eyes. The bottom line: people of ALL ages need proper sunglasses, in ALL seasons. Children’s developing eyes especially need protection, but unfortunately guardians often don’t place the same importance on wearing sunglasses as they do on sunscreen.
Patients should also be aware that new web- and app-based services have recently come to market, offering in-home “eye tests” via smartphone, tablet, or computer. While these provide mostly accurate results in determining one’s prescription for glasses, it is important to note that these DIY services do not screen for conditions and diseases of the eye, and should not be considered a suitable alternative for a comprehensive annual eye exam with a board-certified optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Accessing Comprehensive Eye Care
Due to employment changes and other life events, some people do not have vision benefits (or they have insurance, but it only covers an exam every other year), and as a result they do not visit their eye care practitioner annually as they should. Enter the Metro Optics Vision Club, the ideal choice:
- For those who don’t have eyecare insurance, or
- As a supplement for those with vision benefits that only cover services every other year
The $99 Vision Club package covers a yearly comprehensive eye exam at any Metro Optics location, plus a pair of glasses (single-vision or bifocal, with standard lenses) from the Vision Club selection. If you’re looking beyond the basics, Vision Club memberships also entitle you to discounts on frame and lens upgrades, as well as second pairs and contacts. Metro’s e-commerce site, www.metroopticsonline.com, offers easy online sign-up for the Vision Club. All major credit cards are accepted.
Metro Optics has multiple convenient Bronx locations: in Parkchester at 1332 Metropolitan Avenue, in Hunts Point at 1038 Southern Boulevard (temporarily closed but slated to reopen in 2018), at 25 Westchester Square, and its Flagship location in the Throggs Neck Shopping Center. A vast library of eye health information and videos are available on the main website www.metrooptics.com. Reach any location via 1-800-230-EYES.