John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAO  
Kansas City, MO

Specialties: Ophthalmology

Interests: Eye-Medical Blog
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Don’t Forget to Protect Your Eyes This Summer

Jul 30, 2008 - 24 comments

eye protection






UV light

One of the greatest threats to your eyes is all around you: sunlight. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer.  Unfortunately many people are unaware of the sun’s harmful rays.

Through its EyeSmart™ campaign the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants to remind Americans of the importance of shielding their eyes from the sun’s damaging rays by wearing proper protection. It also wants to remind the public of the importance of protecting eyes from indoor UV light when using tanning beds.

“Protecting your eyes from the sun is as important as protecting your skin,” said John Hagan, MD, an ophthalmologist in Kansas City, and a clinical correspondent for the Academy. “By wearing UV blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for potentially blinding eye diseases and tumors.”

The longer the exposure to bright light, the greater the risk is. Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off sand, water or pavement can damage the eyes’ front surface. In addition to cataracts and AMD, sun exposure can lead to lesions and tumors that may be cosmetically unappealing and frequently require surgical removal.

Damage to the eyes from UV light is not confined to the outdoors; it is also a concern with indoor tanning beds. “Ultraviolet radiation levels to the eye are much greater in a tanning booths than outside in the sun,” says Michael Kutryb, MD, an ophthalmologist in Titusville, FL, and a clinical correspondent for the Academy. “Corneal burns, cataracts, and, in rare instances, retinal damage can occur.” It’s important to wear specially made goggles designed for use in tanning booths for protection of the eyes from UV light.

In choosing sunglasses, look for those that absorb at least 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays. Avoid products with labels that do not state exactly how much UV the product blocks.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these tips to protect your eyes from the sun:

* Don’t focus on color or darkness of sunglass lenses: Select sunglasses that block UV rays. Don’t be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the price tag.

* Check for 97-100% UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 97 to 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.

* Choose wrap-around styles: Ideally, your sunglasses should wrap all the way around to your temples, so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side.

* Wear a hat: In addition to your sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your eyes.

* Don’t rely on contact lenses: Even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection, remember your sunglasses.

* Don’t be fooled by clouds: The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime.

* Protect your eyes during peak sun times: Sunglasses should be worn whenever outside and it’s especially important to wear sunglasses in the early afternoon and at higher altitudes, where UV light is more intense.  

* Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.

* Don’t forget the kids: Everyone is at risk, including children. Protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses. In addition, try to keep children out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
For more information about eye health, please visit www.geteyesmart.org.

Post a Comment
Avatar universal
by kg17, Jul 30, 2008
There seems to be several studies providing evidence that blue light can pose a risk to the retina.  I'm curious as to what risk "full spectrum" or flourescent lighting which does not filter blue light and, in fact, may enhance blue light rays poses to the retina, crystalline lens, etc.

Avatar universal
by Peggy41, Sep 04, 2008
Dr. Hagan,

First, thank you so much for your response to my question.

Next, thanks for the good advice rPeggy41egareding the sun's effect on eyes.

Avatar universal
by paulahart, Sep 10, 2008
my mother is having avitrectomy surgry next week and she is frightened she might not be able to see. she is having her retna fixed. she has a degenerated eye on the other side. she can hardly see now. she is 83. how will she cope with having to lay her head down for 10 days not washing hair because of sheild on. please help so i can ease my moms mind thank you paula  hart_paula***@****

Use the search feature and look up the extended discussions of how people "survive" macular hole surgery.


Avatar universal
by colorblind444, Oct 01, 2008
I am looking for a proceedure that will correct my color blindness is there anyone that can help me??? You can respond to ***@****

634933 tn?1222698259
by AngieNeedsHelp, Oct 01, 2008
Thank you for responding to my post!!
i will use the site you told me about.
i wish i could find out after 12+ years what is wrong with my eyes before i loose my vision.. im greatfull for your time.. :)

Avatar universal
by surftroll, Oct 30, 2008
Aloha Dr.Hagan,
Thank you for your response to my "flying" question. I am of course going to be seen by the doctor who did the surgery for his release but I have heard so many negative opinions regarding flying even if the doctor says I can that I am nervous.
Thank you again.

Avatar universal
by bayouangel, Nov 07, 2008
I am looking for information on ESIs and posterior subcapular cataracts. What is the link between the two? Could the cortisone in the injections on set cataracts with in the span of four months? I ask this because my husband had three injections with in a four month period. The four months later he can not see out of his rigth eye and the left eye  is on its way to being the same. This concerns him because he is a trim carpenter, and seeig detail is very important.
Thanks for any help anyone can offer...

710534 tn?1264352757
by cla4sam, Jan 02, 2009
thanks a mill for answer to my post claire........

Avatar universal
by laura5121, Jan 08, 2009
Dr. Hagan:
Would appreciate your opinion on the one piece IOLs such as the Acrysof Toric and the AMO
Tecnis - The somewhat larger, built-in haptics seem to enhance the stability within the capsular
bag.     Also, Bausch&Lomb now has a 4 haptic IOL.  Would this be an advantage over the two
haptic types?
Can you tell me the name of the medication used to dialate the pupil for an exam?  And is there
a med for this purpose that is less caustic and  based on a more natural preparation - maybe even herbal.
Can you refer us to a highly experienced cataract surgeon in the Denver, CO region?
We appreciate your candid responses to our concerns.  Thank you.

Avatar universal
by Xaminer, Feb 06, 2009
Dr. Hagan,

Thank you so much for your response to my ? about glare after cataract surgery.  I do intend to consult with another doctor about the problem.  I have wanted to see if the eyelid surgery for ptosis would help, even tho my dr. says no.  I do not know what type of lenses I have, I did not have bad or blurry vision before but now have 20/20 in one eye.  Also the added caution about UV rays is really helpful.  I watch it really careful now, but did not for most of my life.

Avatar universal
by Harry72, Mar 03, 2009
I have a cataract growing in my left eye.  What can I do to slow it down.  The dr said it was no problem to me now,
but in 3 or 4 years it could grow where I need to have something done.

Avatar universal
by jen_t, May 15, 2009
thank you for your quick response i have booked her in the to see our doctor he will refer us to the eye hospital.

Avatar universal
by Digna614, May 18, 2009
Just asked what is the exact meaning of recurrent vitreous of the eyes? Is it cataract that block vision? I appreciate your answer bcz this is my report in my masteral. Thanks and God bless!

Avatar universal
by jessica206, May 21, 2009
I tried to post a question on a forum but the forum is full for tonight.  I hope you can reply to my question still.  My boyfriend has exophoria (he was diagnosed 1 year ago - he's in his late 20s).  He often has episodes where his eyes go "crazy" and he can't focus properly, this is usually triggered when he goes from indoors to outside or vice versa.  When this happens it also makes him very anxious.  He thinks it also happens when he is very hungry.  It can also happen out of the blue, so it makes it very difficult to function sometimes.  Is there anything to do to make the "episodes" go away faster?  Does going indoors-->outdoors, being hungry sound like normal triggers?

Avatar universal
by jessica206, May 21, 2009
Hi Dr. Hagan - I forgot to mention that he also says that he has blurred peripheral vision when he has these episodes.  He has normal vision otherwise, except for these episodes.  He used to think they were panic attacks (he had them since he was 10 or 11).  Does this sound familiar?

Avatar universal
by Twotwelve, Jul 04, 2009
Hi Dr Hagan- I posted this earlier today on the Eye Care Community Forum re double vision and Dr Oyakawa said to repost it to you.  Not sure if this is the right way to post to you but here it is.  According to Dr. O my double vision is from the local anesthetic and may or may not get better.  I was hoping maybe surgery could correct it if it does not improve on its own.  Thanks for any information you can give me.

I am a 55 year old female, moderately nearsighted since childhood. On Friday, 6/26/09, I had laser surgery on my right eye to repair tears in my retina. Because of the location of the tears (apparently near a nerve that controls the pupil), the retinal specialist numbed my eye socket prior to the surgery. After he injected the numbing solution (not sure what), he pressed some gauze over my eye and pressed very hard and told me to hold it very firmly against my eye or I would end up with a black eye. He left the room for 5 minutes or so during which time I continued to firmly press the gauze against my eye. I remember seeing small colored dots almost immediately and then flashing. When he returned to do the surgery, I asked him if the flashing was normal and he said 'absolutely'.  He did the surgery with no pain and patched my eye. He told me I could remove the patch the next day and that I might experience blurred vision, double vision or a droopy lid but that it should clear up by Monday. When I removed the patch on Saturday, I had severe double vision, which, from my online research would probably be referred to as hypertropia. When you look at my eyes, the right one appears to be focusing up (there is more white showing under it than the left eye). And, also, what I see out of my right eye seems to be off axis to what the left eye sees- i.e. if I'm staring at something like the top of a window, what the left eye sees as horizontally level, the right eye sees that line sloping down to the right. Also, if I cover the left eye, what I see out of the right eye seems to be somewhat distorted making it difficult to walk- I feel woozy. Depending on the angle of my head, the two stacked images I see may be very separate such as when I look at a TV, I might see two separate TVs. Needless to say, I could not (cannot) function without covering one eye. On Monday, I returned to the specialist's office. The eye was dilated again and he said the surgery looked great and he told me he honestly thought my eye would be fine but that it was just taking me longer to get over the numbing. He told me that he was lasering around the nerve that controls the pupil and that is why he numbed my eye. He said that he was not working around the nerve that controls the eye muscle so damage to that would not be what is causing my double vision. Now, it is Saturday and my vision is still double. I can't help but wonder if I will be stuck with this situation and it has been very difficult to even imagine that. I do have an appointment to go back on Monday (in 2 days). I may be completely wrong, but what I think happened is when he had me press so firmly on my eye while the numbing took effect, I pushed my eye out of place and it was frozen there perhaps because of the numbing. I remember asking myself ‘is it really good to press this hard on my eye?’ and thinking that eyes must be tougher than I realized. I really just wanted to do what he said. I was afraid not to. Also, since my eye was so numb it didn’t hurt to press hard. My questions: Could this really be what happened to my eye? If so, will it ever return to normal on its’ own and if so, how long could it take? (It does appear sometimes now that there is less white showing under the eye than there was a week ago but I can‘t tell that my vision has improved.) Or, if not,  can it be returned to normal surgically or by some other means? Would a retinal/vitreous specialist be the doctor that would do the surgery, or will I need to find another doctor? Any information would be most greatly appreciated!

Avatar universal
by stutk, Jul 15, 2009
I am 37 years old..I have perfect 20/20 in my left eye and need cataract surgery in my right eye...would you recommend a monofocal set for reading....that way i can see far with my left eye and have both eyes for reading (essentially monovision)...and eventually when i hit over 40 and my left eye starts losing the reading then i will have my left eye for seeing distance and my right eye for reading...

Also, my right eye is the dominant eye and I have been reading that when they do mini monovision..they set the dominant eye for distance....is it not recommended to get the dominant eye set for near??

Avatar universal
by marklee, Jul 27, 2009
I am 25 now, and I am working in a computer software company, I was enjoying best of sight, but now it feels that I am losing my sight, mortgages I feel fogging, what you suggest for me, I am not want to utilize glasses or lenses.

Avatar universal
by blurr, Oct 06, 2009
Dear Dr. Hagan
I have already posted this on another forum but I would really like to hear from you.
Two weeks ago I had Restor Aspheric IOL lenses implanted into my eyes and small slits made to correct the astigmatism. I was told the lenses would give me almost perfect near & far vision and good intermediate vision. They did warn me that I may experience rings and halos around lights at night. (I had no idea how bad this would be)
Since I love to spend all my free time outside and on the waters fly fishing the thought of being rid of my progressive glasses was a dream come true.
Right now my distance isn't too bad but not nearly as clear as it was before with my glasses. My near and intermediate vision is terrible. Everything is a blurr. I can't read anything unless its about 10 inches away and working at the computer is really difficult. Text on a white back ground looks as if someone has taken a light grey highlighter to it and white on black is almost painful. I work as a draftsperson for a busy engineering firm and if I can't see I can't work! My right eye is the worst as far as pain goes and I always have a dull headache which seems to be from eyestrain or bright lights.
What I need to know is:
Is this normal?
How long does it take for the lenses to "shrinkwrap" as they say, to where they're supposed to be?
I believe the left one has already done this but the right still seams to be vibrating.
Do most people have good results immediately or are they just as scarred as I am in the beginning?
I look forward to any advise you can give me.
Best regards,

Avatar universal
by Bob534, Oct 24, 2009
I really did not appreciate your rude and flippant answer to my medical question. I do not care if my account is suspended for speaking out. You insulted my character by implying I had ' trust' issues because of my personal experiences regarding my vision. You seem to take things personally and seem quite petty for a doctor of your standing and academic background. I was also concerned about your misspelling of a simple word - lieing? See?My spellcheck just caught that. YOU were rude and inappropriate. I was simply defending myself. I even thanked you for responding to my question.

Grow up ' doctor.'

Avatar universal
by choki, Nov 02, 2009
Sir, why my eyes have so many veins scattered from near my nose to near my pupil...? Is that normal?or what? and theres also a grayish like cloud in the white area of my eyes! can you advice me sir, on what should I do... Thanks alot... God bless!  

Avatar universal
by Hus786, Dec 06, 2009
So my situation is very similar to the individual who started this thread. Ive been to 2 optometrists and 2 ophthalmologists and all cannot find anything wrong with my eyes. The cause of damaging my eyes was too much computer use 3 years ago which is when it started getting bad.

Cant watch movies in a movie theater, cant drive at night, cannot be on the computer for too long and if I push myself (which Im forced to for school) I get headaches, increased prescriptions (yeah this caused me to get glasses, mainly a astigmatism), dry eyes etc

I currently use eye drops (systane) and need to fix this as it effects everything in my life and since Im hoping to go into marketing or business myself it will effect my work to a substantial degree.

I take flaxseed oil and find it helps and so does exercise.

Avatar universal
by DallasCPA, Dec 16, 2009
Dear Doctor & patients,

I'm very confused & concerned about getting eye surgery... especially after hearing Blurr's experience! (Have your eyes improved???)

I'm in my early 50's and can no longer wear my GP contact lenses due to dry eyes.  I had great, crisp correction of astigmatism & severe myopia for many years with my GP contacts, then used reading glasses over them throughout my 40's until I could no longer tolerate my dry eyes...

Now, I am wearing progressive glasses for over 2 years, but  many of my activities are limited, including driving because my vision is not crisp & I do not have the peripheral vision that contact lenses provided.  I've become much less active & it is affecting my work ...

I am a CPA & an avid reader, so my vision is crucial.
With my astigmatism, myopia & presbyobia... what type of implants would you recommend?  I've been told I am not a good candidate for laser surgery, and one surgeon suggested CL HD, followed by yag & then lasix if needed (probably needed...)... meaning 6 total surgeries -- 3 in each eye.

This was from a very high-volume "big name" clinic in Dallas, with little input from the doctor himself -- who briefly looked over my chart after a technician spent considerable time examining my eyes.

Should I get a 2nd (and 3rd opinion)?  I'm concerned about "waxy" vision or ending up with worse dry eye problems, making my vision worse than better.  The information seems very confusing & I'd like more objective information, especially concerning astigmatism & eye surgery...

I've seen some eye docs who prefer aspheric implants vs Crystalens HD, and I am also wondering about the details gearing the procedure more to close (reading) vision versus distant vision.  Is all this considered "wavefront" technology?

And last, but not least, what about significant side effects with the newer implants (like waxy vision, glaring & halos?).  

Thanks so much for your time & any guidance you can provide,

Dallas CPA

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