May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month

May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month, and as the weather is getting warmer, the anticipation has many of us planning for FUN in the sun to enjoy the outdoors. Are you prepared to be protected from the UV rays before you head out to enjoy the warm weather upon us this season? As we spend long hours under the mid-day sun or in UV-intense conditions, whether at the beach, lake, mountains, or just relaxing in your backyard, we should prioritize protecting our eyes from UV rays.

Prevent Blindness is the sponsor for Ultraviolet Awareness Month to increase awareness of how UV rays can damage your eyes and increase your risk of cataracts, eye cancer, sunburned eyes, or growths on or near the eye, especially in high-risk patients. UV protection with sunglasses is recommended for everyone. 

Tips To Protect Your Eyes From The UV Rays

Being exposed to UV rays can burn delicate eye tissue and raise the risk of developing cataracts and cancers of the eye. It is vital to keep your eyes protected while outdoors in the sun this summer. Check out a few guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to ensure UV protection year-round:

  • Wear a hat along with your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed hats are best!
  • Protect children and senior citizens with hats and sunglasses. Everyone is at risk for sun damage.
  • Sunlight is the most substantial from midday to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off water, ice or snow.
  • Say NO to tanning beds! Tanning beds pose the same risks to your eyes and body as outdoor UV light.
  • The color of the eye appears to play a role, with some studies suggesting that blue eyes are at more risk for UV damage than brown eyes. The protective pigment melanin may be the key detail – blue irises have less of it – and a higher incidence of age-related macular degeneration may be one consequence.
  • Never look directly at the sun. Looking at the sun can damage the eyes’ retina and cause serious injury known as solar retinopathy.

By adopting these simple tips, you and your family can enjoy the outdoors this summer and all year long.

Have FUN in the SUN this summer but remember to protect your eyes and the skin you are in!

The Eye Center of of North Florida

References: Prevent Blindness, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Optometric Association

The content is researched and vetted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. American Optometric Association, and Prevent Blindness. This newsletter provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this newsletter and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.


March is Women’s History Month, celebrating women’s contributions to history, society, medicine, and culture. There have been groundbreaking contributions from women within eye healthcare as well.

Did you know that women are at greater risk for eye disease and visual impairments? According to the Women’s Eye Health Organization, women account for more than two-thirds of the world’s blind and visually impaired population, which is the main reason the Women’s Eye Health Organization was established in 2001 in response to this troubling reality.

We strive to educate women and our patient family to empower patients to make healthy lifestyle changes to improve their eye health.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, studies show a gender gap in eye diseases. Women are more likely than men to suffer from sight-threatening conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and glaucoma. Women make up 65 percent of AMD cases, 61 percent of glaucoma and cataract patients are women, and 66 percent of blind patients are women. Why the gender gap? There are a few theories. On average, women live longer, and many eye problems are age-related.

Unique Vision Problems Women Need To Closely Watch

  • Dry Eyes – Occurs double the rate in postmenopausal women
  • Autoimmune Diseases – Women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men, many of which affect vision, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and hyperthyroiditis
  • Pregnancy – vision changes due to the hormones pregnant women experience

Women, It Is Now Time To Take Care Of Yourself!

Women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions. In addition to being responsible for their own health, women are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse, and aging parents. We encourage all women to carve out some time for themselves today and take care of themselves so that they can continue to be that shining star for their loved ones. Call TODAY to schedule your appointment for an eye exam! In the meantime, here are a few simple steps in taking care of you and improving your eye health:

  • Eat healthy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish.
  • Drop the smoking habit. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Protect Your Eyes. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.
  • Know Your Family History. If you have a close relative with macular degeneration, you have a 50 percent chance of developing this condition. A family history of glaucoma increases your glaucoma risk by four to nine times.
  • Use Cosmetics Safely. Throw away eye makeup after three months and get new products. Infection-causing bacteria grow quickly in creamy or liquid eye makeup.

We encourage women as well as men to get regular eye exams. Making eye health a top priority today can help protect your eye health as you age.

References: Women’s Eye Health Organization, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Optometric Association


According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,000 eye injuries occur each day on the job. Most would think that eye injuries only happen in construction or manufacturing jobs. However, nearly 40% of work-related eye injuries happen in offices, healthcare facilities, construction, or laboratory work environments. It is essential that proper eye protection is beneficial in preventing 90% of work-related eye injuries. Nearly 25,000 Americans visit the emergency room each year due to a workplace eye injury.

During Workplace Eye Wellness Month this March, we would like to share a few tips to help protect your eyes from injury:

  • Keep safety eyewear in good condition and replace it when necessary.
  • Always wear safety goggles or face shields when working with chemicals to protect against splashing.
  • Keep your eye protection clean.
  • Implement controls on machinery and equipment to prevent the escape of particles and debris.
  • Ensure all eye and face protection meet OSHA standards, as well as all applicable local and state regulations.
  • Don’t forget putting on a pair of safety glasses can help prevent serious eye injuries in the workplace.

For Workplace Eye Safety Awareness Month, we also wanted to share safety eye tips for office employees. The workplace environment has significantly changed within the past couple of years, with most employees working remotely, increasing more screen time for projects, including meetings attended via Zoom. The increased screen time affects remote employees and the entire family, from the kids virtually learning to online entertainment.

Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to create a healthy and comfortable work environment to avoid digital eye strain.

  • Make a conscious effort to blink as often as possible.
  • Consider computer eyeglasses
  • Use eye drops to refresh your eyes
  • Adjust screen brightness to match the light levels around you
  • Sit about 25 inches from your screen.

Screen Time and Your Eye Health

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, studies show that people developing nearsightedness have dramatically increased. Dry eye symptoms in digital device users are becoming more common, and computer use combined with smartphones and tablets’ personal use increases the risk of digital eye strain.

Reduce eye strain by focusing on your eye health and give your eyes a break by adopting the 20-20-20 rule in your day-to-day office or remote learning routine, which is:

Every 20 minutes. Take 20 seconds. To look 20 feet away.

Keep in mind during March, and year-round, remember to wear your safety glasses and protect your eyes from digital eye strain as you work. If you have any concerns about your eye health or experience any changes with your eyesight, don’t delay making an eye exam appointment.


Our Highest Priority Is Your Lifelong Eye Health!

The Eye Center of North Florida

References: Prevent Blindness, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention