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Caring for Your Eyes in the Summer

July 26, 2018
Are your eyes summer-proof?

You’re careful to slather on the sunscreen before heading outside, but do you always grab your sunglasses? Dr. Tanvi Shah, GBMC ophthalmologist, told Good Morning Maryland host Ashley James why sunglasses are about more than looking cool when the sun’s blazing overhead.

“Sunglasses are essentially sunscreen for your eyes,” said Dr. Shah. “They protect your eyes from the sun’s UVA and UVB radiation. Look for glasses that say UV 400 or 100% UV protection when choosing sunglasses. If you’re bothered by glare, in addition to UV protection look for polarized lenses. But polarization alone doesn’t block UV rays, so make sure you’ve got that UV protection!”

Dr. Shah also discussed how often you need to replace your sunglasses, whether expensive sunglasses are better than cheap ones, and how protecting your eyes from UV rays may slow the development of cataracts. And just as sunscreen is an important part of protecting your kids’ skin from those UV rays, your little ones should also be wearing sunglasses, especially since they’re outside and in the sun more than adults.

Asked whether most eye diseases run in families, Dr. Shah explained, “Some run in families, some happen with age, and some happen ‘just because,’ so getting a regular eye exam is important.” That’s because many common eye diseases, including glaucoma and the early stages of cataracts and macular degeneration, don’t usually cause symptoms and are often detected during a routine eye exam.

She also explained why cataracts are a lot like gray hair and wrinkles, what treatments are available for dry eye syndrome, and why some of her patients can’t wear false eyelashes. “The best advice I can give is to get that regular eye exam. If you don’t have vision problems or a family history of eye disease, an optometrist may be all you need. If you do have problems or a higher risk of eye disease, an ophthalmologist is a good choice.”
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