Dr. Nathan Orr, O.D. answers your eyecare questions:
Q. Monica J. Asks: “I have an infant, a toddler, and a middle-schooler. Should my kids be wearing sunglasses?”
A. Great question Monica, and the answer is absolutely! Kids spend a tremendous amount of time outdoors, and as a result are being exposed to significantly higher levels of ultraviolet light (UV) than many adults. We estimate we get 80% of our harmful UV light exposure before age 18! UV light is invisible, high energy light emitted by the sun that can actually damage the front surface of the eye and the skin of the eyelids. You can’t put sunscreen on the edge of the eyelid, so sunglasses are by far the best way to protect this area. If you look at people who have not protected their eyes over the course of their lives, you will see yellow, callous-like bumps called pinguelcuas on the white part of the eye. In some cases the clear tissue on top of the white part of the eye starts to grow onto the cornea. This is called a pterygium and may require surgery to fix. Other conditions that can be related to UV damage are cataracts and forms of cancer. The take home message is that a good pair of UV protective sunglasses is very important at every age. The long term benefits of UV protection are better eye health, and better eye appearance. Besides, how many other things things that are good for make you look cool while doingit? We carry excellent sunglasses for all ages. Thanks for the question!
Q. Ian M. Asks: “My father recently had cataract surgery. I am in my late 40’s, do I need to be worried?”
A. Hello Ian, this is a question I receive all the time, and the answer is an emphatic no! Cataracts, although a scary sounding word, are a normal change that every human being will encounter if they live long enough. Inside the eye, right behind the colored iris is the crystalline lens. When we are born, that lens is usually perfectly clear. Over the course of our lives, the lens gradually and very slowly gets less clear. Typically by our 70’s, we will be able to see some haziness in the lens. If that lens gets hazy enough, it starts to affect our vision. Think of the windshield on your car gradually getting dirty. You can drive around with a dirty windshield for quite a while, but eventually it gets to the point where you just can’t see clearly. The good news is that cataracts are easily fixed with a simple surgical procedure. The other benefit many people do not realize is that when cataract surgery is done, the vision is also corrected and many patients do no need to wear glasses after their procedure. Thanks for the question! Dr. Nathan Orr, O.D.