Dangers of Light Eyes, Certain Drugs, and the Sun

Many people know that exposing unprotected eyes to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun (such as by not wearing sunglasses) over time can cause vision damage. But did you know that having light-colored eyes or taking certain drugs can make you even more vulnerable to future eye diseases?

More than half of American adults don't, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). A recent Harris Poll commissioned by the AAO revealed that only 32 percent of those polled knew that blue, green or hazel eyes can up their odds of certain eye diseases and conditions like eye cancer and cataracts.

Forty-nine percent didn't realize that some drugs do the same by making eyes photosensitive. Common culprits include antibiotics containing tetracycline or fluoroquinolones, some estrogen pills, and certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve).

The AAO recommends that you avoid sun damage by always wearing sunglasses, even on cloudy days. Make sure they offer complete protection from UV-A and UV-B rays and are labeled "100% UV protection" or "UV400." Wraparound styles offer the best protection. A hat with a wide brim helps keep the sun out of your eyes, too.

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology news release, 4/29/14; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50 and Updated by Remedy Health Media

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 16 Jun 2014

Last Modified: 16 Jun 2014