Coronavirus: How eyes may play a role in its spread

Our eyes might play an important role in the spread and prevention of the coronavirus outbreak seen throughout the world.

To cut your personal risk of contracting the coronavirus, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. The mucous membranes that line various cavities in the body are most susceptible to transmission of the virus.

Patients who have contracted the coronavirus may have ocular symptoms including Conjunctivitis – an inflammation of the membrane covering the eyeball. This is often referred to as “pink eye” and often presents as an infected/red, “wet and weepy” eye. Conjunctivitis is very contagious, and a patient can cause the spread from one eye to the other. Learn more

May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month

Exposure to UV rays can burn delicate eye tissue and raise the risk of developing cataracts and eye cancer. Sunglasses help.

woman wearing hat and sunglasses

Proper sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat reduce exposure to UV rays.

Ultraviolet Awareness

The sun releases energy (radiation) in many forms. The sunlight we see is one form. The heat we feel from the sun is another. Ultraviolet (UV) rays, a third type, are also invisible to the eye. UV rays cause sunburn. They can also damage your eyes and hurt your vision.

There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B. Over time, the effects of UV rays may help cause a number of eye problems.

UV-A can hurt your central vision. It can damage the macula, a part of the retina at the back of your eye.

UV-BThe front part of your eye (the cornea and the lens) absorbs most UV-B rays, but these rays may cause even more damage to your eyes than UV-A rays.

What Eye Problems Can UV Rays Cause?

Macular Degeneration

UV rays may lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.

Cataract

UV rays, especially UV-B rays, may also cause some kinds of cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.

Pterygium

Another UV-related problem is a growth called pterygium. This growth begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea. Eventually, the growth may block vision. It is more common in people who work outside in the sun and wind.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer around the eyelids is also linked to prolonged UV exposure.

Corneal Sunburn

Corneal sunburn, called photokeratitis, is the result of high short-term exposure to UV-B rays. Long hours at the beach or skiing without proper eye protection can cause this problem. It can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.

You can protect your eyes from UV rays in two important ways:

  1. Know the dangers of UV rays.
  2. Wear proper eye protection and hats that block UV rays.

UV rays can come from many directions. They radiate directly from the sun, but they are also reflected from the ground, from water, snow, sand and other bright surfaces.

Wear Sunglasses and a Brimmed Hat

Use eyewear that absorbs UV rays and wear a brimmed hat or cap.

A wide-brimmed hat or cap will block about half of UV rays. A brimmed hat or cap can also limit UV rays that hit the eyes from above or around glasses.

Eyewear that absorbs UV rays gives you the most protection. All types of eyewear, including prescription and non-prescription glasses, contact lenses and lens implants, should absorb UV-A and UV-B rays. For UV protection in everyday eyewear, there are several options like UV-blocking lens materials, coatings and photochromic lenses. UV protection does not cost a lot of money and does not get in the way of seeing clearly.

H. Lee Moffitt, Our 2019 Person of Vision

H. Lee Moffitt

H. Lee Moffitt

The Person of Vision Award has been presented annually since 1979 to honor an individual who has had profound impact on the Tampa Bay region or the State of Florida through true community leadership and vision.

Preserve Vision Florida honored H. Lee Moffitt as its 2019 Person of Vision on February 11, 2019 and celebrated the life-saving work of Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.


About H. Lee Moffitt

A native of Tampa, Lee has practiced law throughout his career while providing a decade of public service in the Florida legislature, championing and supporting initiatives that greatly benefited Florida’s residents. First elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1974, he was elected and served as Speaker of the House from 1982 until 1984 when he retired and returned to the practice of law. During his legislative career he passed constitutional resolutions that created a merit selection process for the Florida Appellate Judiciary and granting Floridians a right to privacy. Both constitutional amendments were approved by Florida voters. He also led the effort to pass the Water Quality and Assurance Act of 1983 and the Growth Management Act of 1985. A graduate of the University of South Florida (USF), he was the first USF alumnus to be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1976.

While a member of the house of representative, Moffitt spearheaded a project to build a cancer treatment center in Florida. He had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his left knee at age 29, for which he did a tumor resection. It was this experience, along with the death of friends, Joseph Lumia, Judy Barnett and George Edgecomb, that motivated Moffitt to lobby for a cancer treatment center in Tampa. He secured an initial $70 million via the Legislature for the commencement of the construction, and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute officially opened on October 27, 1986, three years after its groundbreaking. Despite Moffitt’s objection, the Florida legislature voted to name the facility in his honor. In 2006 he was honored by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Annual Achievement Award for his commitment to combating cancer through the center he founded.[15] Since its founding the center has expanded its services and was designated an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2001.

Moffitt serves on the board of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and on the Board of M2Gen, a for-profit subsidiary of the Moffitt Cancer Center   His visionary leadership has been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from BioFlorida, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Leadership Florida.  He has been presented an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Florida Board of Regents.

Truly, H. Lee Moffitt’s vision of the finest cancer treatment center for Florida’s residents and his ability to engage others in that vision has resulted in a renowned resource that has benefited thousands of Floridians and patients around the globe.

Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

The Mission of Moffitt Cancer Center is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. Its Vision is to transform cancer care through service, science and partnership

Moffitt is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida.  Home of Florida’s largest clinical cancer research unit with more than 450 clinical trials, it receives more than 50 percent of all National Cancer Institute funding awarded to Florida institutions.  Over its years of operation, Moffitt Cancer Center has treated residents of all 67 Florida counties, every state in the United States, and 130 countries around the world. It impacts about 22 percent of cancer cases in Florida, and its economic impact on the state of Florida of nearly $2.1 billion, employing over 6,000 people.

The Center is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers nationwide and is a Top 10 nationally ranked cancer hospital, so designated by U.S. News & World Report since 1999.  It is the largest Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy Program east of Houston and south of Boston and conducts more than 425 transplants a year.  The recipient of more than $46 million grant funding for research, Moffitt has produced 14 start-ups, 49 U.S. patents and 127 licensing agreements.

Person of Vision Award Dinner

Monday, February 11, 2019

Hilton Hotel, Downtown Tampa

6:15-7 p.m. General Reception

7-9 p.m. Dinner and Awards Program