July is National UV Safety Month
Most folks are aware of the damage the sun can do to the skin. A sunburn can permanently damage the skin and cause
skin cancer, precancerous changes in the skin, as well as premature wrinkling and signs of aging. UGH!!
Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is a known risk factor for the development of both
melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
But a lot of people do not know that long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation may also contribute to the development of various eye disorders, such as: age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans; and cataracts, a major cause of visual impairment and blindness
Everyone is at risk for eye damage that can lead to vision loss from exposure to the sun. It’s important to protect your eyes from acute damage caused by even a single outing on a very bright day. When selecting sunglasses, make sure they block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. But don’t be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag.
Remember that many medications can increase your body’s sensitivity to the sun. This is called “drug-induced photosensitivity” . Some of the most common include antihistamines (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin), antibiotics (Cipro, Zithromax, Levaquin, Bactrim, Septra, doxycycline), antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil), and cardiovascular medications (captopril, Tricor, Lasix, Microzide, Vasotec, Mevacor, Zocor). These are just a few examples.
Check out www.medicinenet.com for a list of common culprits. Ask your pharmacist when you have a new prescription filled if photosensitivity is a possible side-effect. Don't forget about non-prescription medications too. Remember to be extra vigilant with your sun precautions when taking these medications.