Summer is here, and it’s time for plenty of outside time and trips to the beach. Dr. Gretchen J. Brewer, OD, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania also reminds all of her patients that it is also the time of year to remind yourself of the dangers of blue light and how to protect your self and your family. Below, Dr. Brewer has compiled some of the most important points to protect you and yours this summer:
Just about everyone knows that UV radiation turn you lobster red with sunburn without proper protection, but did you know that UV radiation can be very dangerous for your eyes too? Overexposure to UV radiation can cause photokeratitis, a kind of "sunburn of the eye," which can cause eyelid twitches, eye pain, and extreme sensitivity to bright light. Beyond this, overexposure to UV rays over time, can greatly increase your chances of developing serious problems, such as age related macular degeneration, cataracts and even cancer, later in life.
Steps You Can Take Yourself - Tips By Our Eye Doctor in Philadelphia
Dr. Brewer suggests that sunglasses that you aim for sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays and around 75-90 percent of all visible light. Dr. Brewer also explains, “The ideal pair of sunglasses will be polarized, with proper UV protection and a copper, reddish-brown or bronze tint. These are great on a number of levels. The polarization helps filter out glare from reflective surfaces that can cause significant amounts of harmful light to suddenly flash into eyes, doing significant damage, while the UV protection filters harmful UV light from causing photokeratitis or other long term damage. Further, copper, reddish-brown and bronze are proven tints in terms of their ability to naturally filter the maximum amount of blue light, a type of light which has been proven to cause significant damage to retinal cells if not protected against.”
Knowing and Monitoring Your Risk
Beyond the steps above, which you can take yourself, it is important to understand the natural protection built into your eyes themselves, known as Macular Pigment, with a device known as an MPOD Densitometer. It is also important to monitor your eyes every year as part of your annual comprehensive eye exam, to make sure that eye conditions that are related to UV overexposure, such as cataracts or macular degeneration, are not developing. For this, Dr. Brewer employs a scan known as Optomap.
As mentioned, Macular Pigment protects the eye, and specifically the macula, from free-radical damage caused by blue light. Unfortunately, many people have a low Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD), which has been linked to many eye conditions mentioned above. The Densitometer measures your personal MPOD level to know if you are at increased risk. If it is found that you are, Dr. Brewer can recommend important dietary supplements to add vitamins and minerals that can help bring your MPOD up to a safer level.
The OPTOS Optomap allows your eye doctor in Philadelphia, PA to see retinal, optic nerve and cornea structures not visible through regular exam methods by using light to provide a high resolution scan meant to pick up early signs of structural change or disease. This extremely high resolution scan lets your doctor view your eye in sections smaller than a human hair, making it easy to spot important signs of developing problems long before thay can cause any damage.
To learn more about what you can do to protect against UV and Blue light, speak with Dr. Brewer today.