HealthDay News — Many Americans are unaware of the UV-related risks associated with common medications in relation to eye disease, according to a new poll from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“Accumulated ultraviolet exposure from the sun can heighten the risk of eye diseases such eye cancer and cataracts, a leading cause of blindness worldwide,” the AAO wrote in a press release.

To access how much patients know about UV exposure in relation to eye disease, the AAO commissioned a Harris poll with more than 2,000 adults. The organization published the following findings:

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  • Of the 33% of adults reported to have used medications that increased photosensitivity or susceptibility to UV ray damage, 49% did not know or did not believe the eye health risk associated with these medications.
  • Less than 20% of adults reported knowing that some birth control and estrogen pills could increase UV-ray vulnerability.
  • More than 80% of adults reported not knowing that anti-inflammatory pain relievers have been associated with photosensitivity.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of adults surveyed did not believe that antibiotics could cause photosensitivity.
  • Only 29% of surveyed patients knew that light eyes are susceptible to UV damage.

“Wearing 100 percent UV-protective sunglasses is one of the easiest and the most important things children and adults can do to protect their eye health,” said Anne Summers, MD, clinical spokesperson for the AAO in a statement.


  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2014). Most Americans Unaware that Common Drugs, Light Colored Eyes Can Increase Vulnerability to UV-Related Eye Disease [Press release]. Retrieved from: