Skin cancer in new places

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

(WFLX) - Many of us are careful to apply sunscreen. But you maybe forgetting one important area: your eyes and the delicate tissue surrounding them.

Paula Haynes has always been careful about sun exposure, so she didn't pay much attention to a small spot near her right eye. "About a year ago, I noticed that I had a spot that looked just a little irritated," she recalled.

That spot turned out to be Blasa Cell Carcinoma; one of the most common types of skin cancer. "I didn't think to put sun screen so close to my eye because it stings when you get it in your eyes. So I didn't attend to that area as well as I could have been."

After dermatologist removed the cancerous spot, Dr. Mark Melson, of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, performed the reconstructive surgery. "I tell my patients to put on sunscreen and frequently reapply and especially around the eyes and wear sunglasses."

Doctors say it really doesn't' matter how much you spend on a pair of sunglasses, the important thing is to make sure they have both UVA and UVB protection."

Dr. Mark Melson says,"People are paying $300 to $400 for fancy designer sunglasses, but, in the end, they serve a very important purpose which is to filter the harsh ultra violent light from getting into the eyes."

Moreover, it's not just direct sunlight that can damage the skin and eyes. Harsh UV rays can be reflected from the ground, water, sand, snow and other bright surfaces. "[That] can increase incidents of cataracts, and can cause problems in the retina in the back of the eye. It can all irritate you or interfere with your vision," Dr. Melson explained.

Learn how to select the perfect pair of sunglasses on the Skin Cancer Foundation's Web site.

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