Most of us think to pack the sunscreen when heading outdoors into the sun, but we might not always remember to grab a pair of shades.
According to Reecha Kampani, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Cleveland Clinic, putting on sunglasses is more than a fashion statement.
She says protecting eyes from UV rays is just as important as protecting skin.
”UV protection is good for all kinds of structures of the eye, like the eyelids, the cornea, conjunctiva, the lenses and retina tissue itself,” says Dr. Kampani. ”You can get damage and changes of the eye with exposure to UV light, so protection is very important.”
Dr. Kampani says it is actually possible to get a sunburn on the eyelids and while rare, if exposed to too much UV light, the cornea, which is the clear tissue over the eye, can get a thermal burn, which can be very painful.
“Long-term exposure to UV light can lead to the formation of cataracts or macular degeneration.”
Dr. Kampani recommends wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat even on moderately sunny or overcast days, to make sure eyes are protected.
Wrap-around sunglasses are best if heading out in the sun all day, as they can keep light from coming in through the top and the sides of the glasses.
The good news is that people don’t have to spend a fortune to keep their eyes protected.
Dr. Kampani says buying discounted sunglasses is fine, but it’s a good idea to replace inexpensive glasses yearly.
”If you’re buying lenses that are at more discounted places, that’s fine, said Dr. Kampani. A lot of times they still do have full protection, but you have to keep in mind that it could be something thats more temporary, like a spray-on coating, that wont last as long.”
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that artificial UV light, like the kind that is found in tanning beds, is just as bad for the eyes as it is for the skin.
Remember, when you’re outdoors or out in the field as we say in TV, wear sunglasses OR a hat to protect your eyeballs.
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Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD Communications, specializing in health and wellness since 1993. She began working in media in 1983 on the Today Show at NBC in New York City as a p/t fill-in for co-host, Bryant Gumbel’s assistant while she was still in college. She also worked part-time in Barnes & Noble bookstore at Pace University (she worked at Barnes and Noble Fifth Avenue during all of high school) and part-time as a sales associate in Sak’s Fifth Avenue. She is an English major with national honors and Political Science minor. She served in NYC’s Intercollegiate Model City Council, having been selected by her Political Science Professor to join honor pre-law students on the council with actual council members to represent NYC on the council.
Upon graduation, Maria was hired full-time at NBC. Three years later, she helped launch their cable station, CNBC out of Ft. Lee, NJ. She produced three talk show pilots that were successfully nationally syndicated with a Who’s Who in medicine, media, politics and entertainment as guests. She conducted research, fact-checked, wrote questions, pre-interview guests in the green room and produced segments and shows from concept to completion. She was director of research for Ailes Communications, a political consulting firm and production company run by the departed, Mr. Ailes who went on to become president of CNBC and later chairman of Fox News Channel.
“I never saw the negative side of Roger. Yes, he was tough. Yes, he’d fire someone on the spot, but he was nothing but respectful of me and other female colleagues. He was a media genius and I was fortunate to learn from him. Anyone that says otherwise didn’t know him. It was a different time then. Women, including myself didn’t dress like we were going to a nightclub to tell the news. We were professional. Ever notice the first women to shout sexual harassment look like they’re either doing a push-up bra or pantyhose commercial while anchoring? They’ll defend themselves by saying they should be able to dress however they want and not expect anyone to treat them differently. Really? I don’t expect my male colleagues to come to work bare chested with suspenders. And then sue me if I make a comment. It’s ridiculous. I think a bit of common sense and professionalism in order.”
She co-anchored them for 3 years before joining NBC Miami as their medical and special projects producer. She then relocated to North Carolina and launched her own production company, while producing 21st Century Medicine documentary series for Discovery Health, weekly JAMA Reports for networks and medical segment for iTV. She traveled to Stockholm, Spain, Paris, London and all over the U.S. conducting interviews and filming segments.
She won a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association for national series Heart Smart, an Outstanding Achievement Award from the March of Dimes, a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, a Freddie Award for Excellence in Medical Reporting, an Advanced Writing Scholarship from NBC News, an Outstanding Leadership Abilities Award from Pace University, a Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media Award from her alma mater, Pace University.
She mentors journalism students and is the author of PRESSure: Break Into Broadcasting, Healthy Within and a little cookbook she created for her family to preserve family recipes called, Health, Heart & Humor In An Italian-American Kitchen. Her books are available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. She has worked with a Who’s Who in Medical and Health, trained PR departments, trained people wanting to work on-camera, and created a newsroom from scratch for MedPage Today and others, trained associate producers on Good Morning America to be producers, and in 2000 launched the Cleveland Clinic News Service (CCNS).
“I’m blessed with amazing health all my life; doctors ask what I do.”