In response to CNN journalist Anderson Cooper’s recent 36-hour blindness scare, the American Academy of Ophalmology is reminding the public about the damage that too much UV light can inflict on the eyes.

UV light, particularly when it’s reflected off of water, ice or snow, can damage the eye’s front surface, cause growths on the eye, and increase the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

Retinal damage can occur with extreme light exposure such as when looking directly at the sun.

To keep eyes safe from the sun all year round, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends wearing UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles. Sunglasses should be labeled either UV400 or 100 percent UV protection.

Choose wraparound styles so that the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side, the academy says.

Other recommendations include wearing a broad brimmed hat, avoiding sun exposure during peak UV hours (midday to early afternoon), and never looking at the sun, which can damage the retina.

More information is available at

On his show, “Anderson Live,” Cooper said he burned his eyeballs while on a boat in Portugal for two hours without sunglasses.