Posts Tagged ‘UV safety’

Eye Care Basics: Protect Your Vision and Boost Your Health

woman getting eye examOur eyes help us navigate each day – enabling us to get our work done, connect with family or friends, and enjoy our favorite pastimes. Despite all our eyes do for us, it’s easy to overlook our eye health. Learn how the right eye care can protect your vision.

Take Care of Contact Lenses and Wear Them Correctly

Wearing contact lenses is fairly straightforward. But after a few years (or years and years) of wearing lenses, it can seem like not such a big deal to fall asleep in them or skip a few steps when cleaning them. Taking proper care of your contacts and following instructions can help keep your eyes healthy.

Be sure you:

  • Replace your contacts according to the schedule provided by your doctor or brand.
  • Replace your contact case every three months to reduce the risk of contamination or infection from a dirty or damaged case.
  • Remove contacts before showering or swimming.
  • Use a sterile solution to clean contacts, and don’t use water or saliva to rewet them.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before handling contacts.

Reduce Screen Time

Screen time isn’t just bad for the brain and body: It’s bad for our eyes. Considering that Americans spend approximately 10 hours a day looking at a screen, it’s important to take some simple steps to help protect your eyes.

Staring at a screen – whether it’s a computer, phone, tablet or TV – can strain the eyes from the exposure to the blue light of digital devices. Symptoms of digital eyestrain include:

  • Dry eye
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritated or itchy eyes
  • Red eyes

You can protect your eyes from digital eyestrain by:

  • Keeping screens an arms-length away
  • Limiting screen time
  • Making sure the lighting in the room is brighter than the device you’re using
  • Raising the contrast of your screen
  • Using a humidifier where you work to help keep eyes moist
  • Using a matte screen filter to cut glare
  • Wearing glasses more often

Wear Protective Eyewear

The term “protective eyewear” can bring up images of safety glasses. But, it’s so much more than that. Your sunglasses are one of your most important pieces of protective eyewear. Regularly wearing sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays can help reduce your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium, which can cause astigmatism. You should also wear a hat to help protect your eyes.

If your job requires use of specialty eyewear, be sure you wear it regularly and safely. A simple pair of safety goggles or glasses can help protect your eyes from stray pieces of material that may cause damage to your eyes. Some sports, like basketball, football and hockey, also call for protective eyewear to help keep you or your athlete’s eyes healthy.

Get Enough Sleep

Did you know that eyes need at least five hours of sleep to rest and replenish? Sleep helps our eyes work properly and protects our vision. Not getting enough sleep may cause:

  • Dry eye
  • Eye spasms
  • Popped blood vessels

Make sure you get enough “shut eye” by going to bed at the same time and aiming for at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Get a Thorough Eye Exam Every Year

An annual eye exam is an important part of maintaining your health, even if you don’t wear glasses or contacts. A comprehensive, dilated eye exam gives your optometrist or ophthalmologist the opportunity to check the health of your eyes, and identify health conditions or complications of high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma and overall eye health. Find an optometrist or ophthalmologist near you and schedule your eye exam.

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need when you need it. With more than 2,800 doctors and 300 locations, including 11 hospitals, as well as primary care offices, urgent cares and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. Find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.

Top 5 Skin Protection & Skin Cancer Prevention Tips for UV Safety Month (and year round!)

UV Safety

Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Perhaps even more alarming– 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation from the sun. With summer heat at its peak and because July is UV Safety Month, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay safe(r) when in the sun.

There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Tan

A recent article appearing in HealthDay confirms what those around the medical field have known for quite some time– there is no such thing as a safe tan. During summer months attendance at tanning salons skyrockets with people attempting to achieve a golden “base tan” to build on throughout the summer. But the notion of a base tan being a safe and affective way to achieve a bronze summer glow is simply false. “Tanning beds have become a particular hazard. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified the devices as within its highest cancer risk category — basically as potentially carcinogenic as cigarettes,” the article notes. And as Dr. James Spencer, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology board of directors adds, “The bottom line is excessive UV exposure increases your risk of skin cancer, whether you are indoors or outdoors.” So if you’re seeking a golden bronze glow, stay away from the tanning salon and if anything, take a step into your local pharmacy or grocery story where you can purchase temporary and topical bronzing creams and lotions.

Protect Yourself – “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap!”

The American Cancer Society has a cool awareness campaign around UV safety to help you keep top of mind 4 easy steps you can take to protect yourself from damaging UV rays.

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wrap on sunglasses

These 4 simple steps will help keep you protected from harmful UV radiation.

Assess Yourself

Check your skin regularly (at least monthly) for growth of new moles and changes to existing ones. New moles, moles that have changed in color or texture (i.e. darken or become raised), moles thath ave grown and changed in size, and sores that won’t heal are all changes you’ll want to keep track of and possibly have checked by your doctor. The National Cancer Institute has some great resources and advice on how to check your skin for potentially harmful developments.

Avoid the Obvious

A little common sense will go a long way when it comes to UV safety. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly during peak hours (10am-4pm) and as you read above, stay away from tanning beds. When possible, it’s also a good idea to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun when near water, snow, or sand, all of which reflect the sun’s rays and can increase chances of burning.

Know Your Skin Cancer Risk

Any person can get skin cancer, but the risk is higher for groups of people with lighter coloring. In general, if you have blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, and white or light-colored skin with freckles, you may be at a higher risk for developing skin cancer. Furthermore, if you have a family history of skin cancer, are frequently exposed to the sun via work and/or play, or have a history of sunburns or regular indoor tanning, you could also be at a higher risk. For help assessing your risk for skin cancer, check out the CDC’s information on skin cancer risk factors.

What else? Did we miss anything? What do you do to stay sun safe and how do you encourage your friends and family to do the same? Let us know in the comments below!