Can Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes from Serious Damage?

Cute girl with Sunglasses
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes AND look awesome.

Summer is in full swing. Days are longer, the sun hotter, and the threat of eye damage from ultraviolet exposure is stronger greater than ever. Florida Eye Institute, along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, warn that excessive sun exposure can put you at risk for serious short-term and long-term problems. Especially in Florida, this is true for young and old, all year-round.

To bring attention to this important eye health matter, ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — are sharing information on how to keep eyes safe from sun damage.

There is no doubt about the consequences of not protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. If eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without proper protection, UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours.

Long-term sun exposure is linked to more serious eye disease, such as cataract, eye cancer and growths on or near the eye. A lifetime of exposure also likely increases progression of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness.

Prevention is simple. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation. But how do you know if your sunglasses are up to the task of protecting your family’s sight?

UV protection is the essential piece to look for in a pair of sunglasses. When choosing sunglasses, look for a tag that confirms 100% protection against both UVA/UVB rays, or 100% protection against UV 400. Darkness and color do not indicate the strength of UV protection, and neither does the price tag. Even the least expensive sunglasses can offer adequate protection.

If you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag, take them to an optical shop. Any shop that has a UV light meter can test your sunglasses. A UV light meter is a handy test for when you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag or if they are simply old and you want to make sure.

Lee Hudgins, Licensed Optician and Manager of the Optical Gallery at Florida Eye Institute states, “In addition to quality UV protection, look for polarized lenses. Polarization reduces glare by controlling how light is reflected back to your eyes. Polarized lenses are especially helpful around areas that are highly reflective, like water and sand. They are a necessity in the Florida sun.”

In addition to protective sunglasses, consider wearing a broad-brimmed hat. They have been shown to significantly cut exposure of harmful rays. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen!

Looking for a good eye doctor? Florida Eye Institute specializes in the advanced treatment of retina, cataract, glaucoma, and corneal disease. You’ll find complete eye care for the entire family, including the latest bladeless LASIK vision correction.

Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Medicare and most insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit www.fleye.com.

Content Courtesy of AAO & Florida Eye Institute

June is Cataract Awareness Month. Are You at Risk?

Living with cataract can be compared to looking at life through a dirty window.

The condition clouds the eye’s natural lens, causing changes in vision. Sensitivity to glare, dulled color perception, increased nearsightedness and frequent changes to eyeglass prescriptions are common with the onset of cataract.

But, cataracts not only makes life less vibrant, they can dull the visual cues used to prevent personal injury. Studies show untreated cataract increases the risk of accidents for older adults – up to 75% in some cases.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found automobile drivers who delayed the needed eye procedure were twice as likely to be involved in a car crash than those who opted to have treatment when medically appropriate.

Timely cataract replacement not only lowers the risk of auto accident, it can reduce the risk of damaging hip fracture. An analysis of Medicare patients showed an astonishing 16% decrease in hip fractures after cataract surgery.

Cataract is largely considered a condition of aging, with nearly 23 million Americans showing evidence of the disease. Most individuals will develop cataract by age 80.

Treatment involves removal of the clouded natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract removal is considered the safest and most common procedure performed in the US today, with more than a million surgeries conducted annually.

In observance of Cataract Awareness Month, Florida Eye Institute will host Free Vision Screenings during June. The screenings provide an opportunity to meet with trained ophthalmic technicians to discuss your risk of cataract or other eye condition. Hours are 9:00 am – 11:00 am; Friday, June 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th at both Florida Eye Institute locations.

June is Cataract Awareness Month

Better Vision Means Better Health

Did you know untreated eye disease, including cataracts, can adversely affect your health? Sometimes to devastating effect.

Studies show a high correlation between auto accidents and untreated cataracts – as much as 75% – compared to those who seek appropriate and timely treatment. Additionally, those over age 65 experience a 16% lower risk of hip fracture after the sight-saving surgery.

It’s estimated more than 22 million Americans live with cataracts and over half of all Americans will develop the condition by age 80. Although cataract is the leading cause of blindness throughout the world, it is considered a conquered disease in the United States due to widely available treatment. However, cataract still accounts for significant vision impairment in the US, especially for those with difficulty accessing care due to cost, availability or other health barriers.

Treatment of cataract involves removal of the clouded natural lens of the eye, replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant. Cataract removal is the most common procedure performed in the US with more than a million surgeries conducted annually.

In observance of Cataract Awareness Month, Florida Eye Institute will host Free Vision Screenings in June. Hours are 9:00 am – 11:00 am; Friday, June 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th at both Florida Eye Institute locations.

Call (772) 569-9500 for more information.

Local Surgeon Among First to Use New Intraocular Lens for Cataract Patients With and Without Presbyopia

Dr Zudans head shot he performs cataract

High Level of Freedom from Glasses

Vero Beach, FL – June 9, 2005 – A revolutionary advance in cataract surgery will be introduced this month by Val Zudans, M.D. of the Florida Eye Institute in Vero Beach. AcrySof ReSTOR® IOL is the first and only apodized diffractive intraocular lens (IOL) for cataract patients with and without presbyopia. The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL, from Alcon, Inc., provides patients with a full range of quality vision (near, intermediate and distance), and greatly reduces reliance on glasses. In clinical trials, 80 percent of patients reported never wearing reading glasses or bifocals following bilateral cataract surgery.

The vast majority of patients who undergo cataract surgery today receive monofocal lenses, which typically require them to use reading glasses or bifocals for near vision following surgery. “With the new AcrySof ReSTOR IOL, patients have the potential to reduce their reliance on glasses,” said Dr. Zudans. “This new lens is a breakthrough in cataract surgery that we are proud to offer our patients.”

AcrySof ReSTOR is a foldable IOL and represents breakthrough technology because of its unique, patented optic design, which allows patients to experience the highest level of freedom from glasses ever achieved in IOL clinical trials. The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL uses a combination of three complementary technologies: apodization, diffraction, and refraction, to allow patients to experience a full range of high-quality vision without the need for reading glasses or bifocals. This range of vision is achieved without glasses through the optical properties of the IOL. The end benefit for patients is an increased range of quality vision that results in a high level of spectacle freedom. Alcon patented the application of apodization technology to an IOL, making AcrySof ReSTOR the first and only apodized diffractive IOL.

The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March 2005. Clinical trials were conducted in the United States and Europe to establish the safety and effectiveness of the AcrySof ReSTOR IOL. A total of 566 patients received the AcrySof ReSTOR lens in clinical trials and had a mean age of 68 years.

Since its introduction outside the U.S. in 2003, more than 11,000 AcrySof ReSTOR IOLs have been implanted in patients by more than 1,000 surgeons in Europe and other countries. More than 500 ophthalmic surgeons outside of the U.S. have been trained to implant the AcrySof ReSTOR lens and thousands of lenses have already been successfully implanted.

A cataract is a “clouding” of the eye’s natural lens, which results in blurred or defocused vision. According to a recent article published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, more than 20 million adults in the U.S. have developed cataracts making it the number one cause of poor vision in the United States. While not all cataracts require surgery, nearly 3 million cataract procedures are annually performed in the U.S. Cataracts cannot be prevented and are the leading cause of treatable blindness worldwide. According to the National Eye Institute, the number of Americans with cataracts is expected to rise to over 30 million people by the year 2020.

The Florida Eye Institute is among the first medical groups in the United States to receive the new lens.

About Val Zudans, M.D.
Dr. Zudans completed his ophthalmology residency at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Florida. He performs no-needle, no-stitch, clear-cornea cataract surgery to minimize discomfort and speed recovery. He uses this same highly advanced procedure for ReSTOR presbyopia surgery. His additional expertise in refractive surgery such as LASIK, LASIK/PRK, and AK allow him to further enhance the outcomes of cataract and ReSTOR procedures by correcting residual astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia.