Reasons To Take Care Of Your Eyes In The Sun

9:24 AM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Sunscreen can help protect your skin from sun damage, but did you know there are two big reasons to take extra care of your eyes while in the sun?

That's the subject of this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer segment.

"The eye area is very, very important," said Dr. Lynn Cornelius with the Siteman Cancer Center.

But it's often overlooked as you slather sunscreen on your face, arms and legs. Burn that sensitive skin right around the eyes, including the eyelids, and you can get wrinkles, and raise your risk of skin cancer.

You also run the risk of developing a painful eye condition.

"In fact you get ultraviolet B exposure to the cornea which is a lot of exposure you can get a keratitis," said Dr. Cornelius.

That's what happened to CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. He went blind for 36 hours in early December on a shoot for 60 Minutes.

Cooper was out on the water without sunglasses, and ended up with keratitis which is basically a sunburn to his cornea, the outer covering of the eyeball.

"If you essentially get a sunburn of the corneal area, the outside area and get inflammation and swelling. So it's that swelling to my understanding that really causes the decreased vision," said Dr. Cornelius.

Sunscreen can sting the eyes, so you want to be careful when putting it on. But there's another way to protect your vision, and lower your risk of cancer and eye injury. One you should never be without.

"It's very easy to get wrap around, 99 to 100 percent UV protection from your glasses," said Dr. Cornelius.

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