The Vision Council Presents ‘Sunglasses for UV Protection’ on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Vision Council held a briefing on Capitol Hill last week about the impact of UV exposure on vision health. The presentation on “Sunglasses, UV Protection and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision”

(L-R) The Vision Council’s CEO Ed Greene with presenter Justin Bazan, OD, and Smith Optics’ Scott McGuffie.

covered both long-term and short-term concerns related to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Among the vision disorders that can occur from UV exposure that were discussed included cataracts, abnormal eye growths, cancer of the eye, and macular degeneration. “More than 40 Congressional offices were in attendance at the briefing, including a bipartisan and bicameral group of Democrats and Republicans from the House of Representatives as well as the Senate,” a spokesperson for The Vision Council told VMail.

A member of The Vision Council’s medical advisory team, Justin Bazan, OD, owner of Park Slope Eye in Brooklyn, N.Y., educated attendees about the dangerous effects UV rays can have on the eyes. He stressed the importance of educating the public about how they can protect their vision. In addition, Smith Optics donated examples of eyewear that provides protection from UV damage for display and to be given to attendees.

Although the summer is almost over, the briefing remains topical because Americans must take appropriate measures to protect their eyes from harmful UV radiation year-round, according to a statement from The Vision Council. Although it can be easier to feel the impact of sun in the summer, UV radiation is always present and can be even more damaging during colder months when adults and children stop wearing UV protection. While the UV index is highest in the spring and summer, it can still reach moderate to very high levels in September and October. In winter months, UV rays can reflect off of snow and into the eyes, especially after a fresh snowfall or during winter sporting activities, when individuals can experience photokeratitis, or “snow blindness,” The Vision Council stated.

The Vision Council further reported: “Despite data about the dangerous effects of UV radiation, Americans are still exposing their eyes and skin to harmful UV exposure, putting them at risk for serious health problems later in life. In fact, 47.6 percent of adults do not protect their eyes simply because they forget to wear sunglasses.”