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SANANTONIO -- Everything s bigger in Texas, even ultraviolet exposure. That s why the Vision Council is urging residents of the Lone Star State to wear sunglasses.

On any late spring day at Woodlawn Lake, you ll find San Antonians enjoying the walking trail, even if they re skating or strolling. Most are sporting shades. But the Vision Council said all of us should invest in a good pair of sunglasses and wear them whenever we re outside.

We get a lot of sunlight in Texas, commented Dr. Dan Johnson, an ophthalmologist with UT Medicine San Antonio. There are a lot of issues that people can develop in their eyes related to sun exposure.

Johnson said sun exposure to the eye can fuel conditions like pterygium, an overgrowth of tissue that can cover the cornea. UV exposure has also been linked to an increased risk of developing cataracts, those cloudy lenses. And sun damage can create precancerous lesions or full blown cancer s that can devastate vision.

An ounce of prevention in the form of eye protection can go a long way in preventing these problems. You don t have to buy fancy lenses. Just make sure they re blocking the right rays.

The important part of the sunglasses is to get the sunglasses that stop the UVA and UVB because it s the ultraviolet light that s the problem, Johnson stressed.

And don t forget the little ones. Children are vulnerable because they spend a lot of time outdoors.

The Vision Council wants people to make sunglasses as high on their priority list as sunscreen.

Sunglasses, I think, should be pumped up more, Johnson added. Sunglasses are basically sunscreen for the eyeballs.

San Antonio gets high levels of ultraviolet radiation up to 150 days a year. Today, for instance, the level is extreme.
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