Desperately Seeking Shade

So here we are in mid-June, sandwiched between Memorial Day and July Fourth, eagerly awaiting the official kickoff of summer. While I love the sun, those warm rays do not return the favor. My very fair and freckled Irish skin combined with my early years spent on the Jersey Shore (circa 1965) have caught up with me in my middle age.

I see my dermatologist and surgeon a few times a year in an effort to keep my skin cancer outbreaks under control. Vigilance, regular checkups, early detection and protection are my watchwords.

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that protecting your skin has a lot in common with protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays. While years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid, unfiltrated UV rays can accelerate conditions like cataracts and age-regulated macular degeneration, according to The Vision Council.

The organization reports that while 75 percent of Americans admit they are concerned about UV eye exposure, only 31 percent wear sunglasses every time they go outside, rain or shine. The Vision Council has been doing a good job raising awareness about eye protection by reminding consumers and their ODs that wearing sunglasses is key to long-term eye health.

Next Tuesday, June 27 is National Sunglasses Day. Promoted by The Vision Council, it encourages members to incorporate the campaign into their sunwear sales plans and like anything else today, social media plays a huge role. In addition to arming ECPs with marketing collateral like posters, logos and ad graphics, sunglass selfies will also rule the day.

Go to for more info and use #NationalSunglassesDay and #SunglassSelfie to help promote your efforts in raising awareness. This summer, if you see patients who have risk factors for skin cancer (fair skin, family history and severe sunburns all play a role), encourage them to visit a dermatologist for a yearly skin check.