Prevent Blindness America Hosts Congressional Briefing to Make UV Eye Protection A National Health Priority

WASHINGTON, D.C.Prevent Blindness America (PBA) asked lawmakers on yesterday to make protecting eyes from ultra-violet (UV) rays a national health priority by hosting a congressional briefing on “UV and Our Nation’s Vision,” with support from Transitions Optical, Inc., through the Transitions Healthy Sight for Life Fund, an announcement said.

Representative Gene Green, Texas, co-chair of the Congressional Vision Caucus, provided the opening remarks and discussed the critical importance of making protecting our eyes from UV rays a national priority specifically by increasing the prevalence of UV and eye-health messages coming from federal agencies, national leaders such as the Surgeon General and in upcoming healthcare policies development

“The impact of UV rays on the eye health, productivity and quality of life of Americans is too severe to ignore, and is only going to get worse, with high exposure to UV in the environment and low awareness of the need to protect the eyes,” said Rep. Green. “We need to help Americans see that protecting their eyes from UV is as important as protecting their skin.”

According to PBA, the congressional briefing included presentations by several eye doctors, researchers and government representatives on the impact of UV on eye health, and the importance of wearing eyewear such as sunglasses and photochromic lenses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays to reduce exposure. Presenters also explained that high-risk groups, including Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans, as well as women, older Americans and children, are often the least aware of the need for protection. Several of the presentations provided information about the financial impact of UV-related eye disease on individuals, employers and the nation as a whole.

Specific action urged by lawmakers includes:

  • Inclusion of UV eye protection messages in current and future government-funded education programs on related topics, such as eye- and overall- health or sun protection
  • Research on the impact of UV on the eye as a topic of consideration for future government-funded efforts
  • Heightened awareness of role of vision wear in enhancing eye health and safety, as well as overall quality of life and productivity.

More information and educational resources are now posted at SunAndVision.org.

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