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Health Team

Sunglasses are more than just an accessory

Posted June 28, 2013

Ever since her mom developed ocular melanoma, Christiana Mastandrea gets regular eye check-ups and wears sunglasses.

“My mother had a freckle behind her eye, after multiple sun burns, it turned into a deadly tumor,” Mastandrea said. “She caught it in time and is now cancer free.”

Optometrist Amanda Steele's said that only certain types of sunglasses are suitable.

“Get a pair that absolutely has 99 to 100 percent UV block,” she said.

Sunglasses can prevent skin cancer around the eyes as well as problems within the eye, such as cataracts, which cause blurred vision.

The unfiltered rays of the sun can also damage the nerve layer in the back of the eye, contributing to macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

There's also something called pturygium.

“All it means is tissue growth,” Steele said. “It grows in an abnormal place on the eye surface that's due to sun damage.”

UV protection is a concern for Dane Barnes, but not at the top of his list.

“So for me, it's pretty much style - something that tends to suit me,” Barnes said.

He came in to Steel’s office to pick up a pair of prescription sunglasses. Clear prescription glasses also contain UV protection.

“But most regular pairs of glasses are smaller in size than sunglasses, and they do not provide as much coverage,” Steele said.

Steele also recommends parents make sure their children also wear sunglasses when they are outdoors.

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