Sunglasses aren’t just for fashion, Bellin expert says

02/05/2009

BRILLION — Dr. Jamie Ertl, an optometrist at Bellin Eye Clinic in Brillion, is encouraging residents to give more attention to their eyes.

“The sun’s damaging effects are a year-round concern regardless of what the temperature is outside,” Ertl said. “The sun’s brightness creates a glare that can interfere with comfortable vision and the ability to see clearly. This glare, which causes eyes to squint and to water, can be tempered by the use of sunglasses.”

In addition to visible light, the sun gives off ultraviolet radiation commonly known as UV rays.

“Studies have shown that long-term exposure to UV-A and UV-B rays can contribute to the development of a number of eye-related health problems,” Ertl said. “Diseases and conditions like cataracts, retinal problems, benign growths on the eye, cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes, and photokeratitis – a temporary but painful sunburn of the eye’s surface – can all be traced to long-term UV-A and UV-B exposure.”

Children and teenagers are particularly susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays because they typically spend more time outdoors than adults. In addition, the lenses of their eyes are more transparent than those of adults, which allows more UV radiation to reach their retinas.

The best protection against the sun’s damaging rays is the consistent use of sunglasses. The following tips can aid the search for suitable sunglasses:
· Select shades that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation
· Select sunglasses that screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light
· Ideal sunglasses have gray, green or brown lenses

Dr. Ertl practices at the Bellin Eye Clinic in Brillion, 964 West Ryan St. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (920) 756-3242.