Protecting your eyes and why it's important

March 7, 2013 2:28:21 PM PST
It's a cloudy day, but both 26 year old Jamal Rodney and I are wearing our sunglasses.

You might not think to do it on a day like this, but there's good reason. Sunglasses block ultraviolet sunlight that still gets through the clouds.

"UV light from the sun can produce cataracts, macular degeneration and skin cancer also it can produce growths on the surface of the eye," Dr. Mark Fromer of Lenox Hill Hospital said.

Jamal lost his right eye after it was struck by a baseball bat when he was only three years old. It's especially important that he preserve his remaining vision. He wears protective glasses when he plays basketball.

"These are somewhat uncomfortable, but at the end of the day it's not about fashion. It's about protecting yourself," Jamal said.

Protecting yourself in the workplace, in the factory or in front of your computer.

I'm an old guy and have a reading prescription in my glasses to read close up, but a computer screen is farther away. You might want to get computer glasses with a weaker prescription to read your monitor.

Many of us wouldn't think of special computer lenses, but they may reduce eye strain. Think a space heater is only an electrical hazard? It's dry hot air or any forced heated air can dry out the eyes. Get a humidifier. And contacts? No matter what you hear, don't sleep with them.

"One of the things we see is people who sleep in their contact lenses, don't take good care of their contacts, and develop severe corneal ulcers and corneal scars because of that," Dr. Fromer said.

Another good idea is to read drug labels. Drugs are one of the common causes of dry eyes, double vision and blurred vision. Computer glasses? You don't have to go to the doctor for them. Just get them over the counter in a weaker correction than your reading glasses.

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