Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

How Can You Protect Your Eyes From Melanoma?

by Caitlin Obara

Did you know that you can develop melanoma not only on your skin, but also on the tissues in the back of your eye? Known as ocular melanoma, this type of melanoma often goes undiagnosed until it is quite severe, since it does not cause any symptoms in its early stages. While there are treatments, they often end up permanently impeding the patient's vision. For this reason, it's of the utmost importance to do all that you can to protect your eyes from melanoma.

Buy the right sunglasses.

UV exposure is thought to increase your risk of ocular melanoma. Sunglasses can keep the UV rays from hitting your eyes, but only if you buy the right sunglasses. You need a pair that is specifically labeled to block UV rays (not all sunglasses do). You also need to make sure the lenses of the sunglasses are large enough to block light that comes at you from the sides. Those small-lens sunglasses might be stylish, but they're not as effective. If you're struggling to find sunglasses that you're confident offer the right protection, talk to your optician. They're familiar with various brands and often have access to models you may not find on the shelves at a sunglasses store.

Make wearing sunglasses a habit.

It's not enough to just own the sunglasses. You need to make sure that wearing them when outside becomes second-nature. Try setting a reminder on your phone to ring and remind you to put them on before you leave the house. Pack an extra pair in your car so you don't get caught without them. Tell those around you that you're making an effort to wear your sunglasses more regularly and ask them to remind you to put them on if they see you outside without them.

Say "no" to tanning.

It's no secret that tanning beds are bad news for your skin, but they're terrible for your eyes, too. Those little goggles you have to wear in the tanning bed offer some protection, but sometimes UV rays still make it in the sides – and lower quality goggles may not even block the rays completely. So, stay away from tanning beds. If you really want that dark, tanned look, opt for a spray tan.

In addition to following the tips above, make sure you see your eye doctor for regular eye exams. That way, if you do develop melanoma, at least it will be detected and treated early. For more information, visit or a similar website.