Q. What are "blue blockers" and are they worth getting?

There's a controversy over the possible harm done by blue light. There is blue light in the bright glare from snow or water. Lenses that block all blue light are usually amber colored. This color is supposed to help you see distant objects more easily. Amber sunglasses are used by many pilots and hunters.

But, if you are shopping for sunglasses, the most important feature to look for is the ability to protect your eyes from invisible ultraviolet (UV) light, which also causes sunburn.

Long-term exposure to the high-energy ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease. Buy sunglasses that block 99 percent or 100 percent of all UV light. Look for a label that lists protection.

If you want to be extra careful, get wrap-around sunglasses because they keep out more light. Eye doctors also recommend wearing a brimmed hat when you're going to be in the sun for a long time.

If you don't protect your eyes from the sun, you risk getting cataracts, macular degeneration and cancerous growths on the eye.

Q. Any tips for losing weight?

First, always discuss any weight-loss program with your physician. The following are a dozen tips I found from reputable sources:

1. Keep track of the food you eat; this prevents overeating.

2. Don't cut back too much because your body will begin conserving energy and make it difficult to reduce.

3. Begin exercises to develop muscle so your body will burn more calories.

4. Avoid fads. Eat a balanced diet or you may deny yourself important nutrients.

5. Losing weight is difficult so don't be tempted by reduction plans that make it sound easy.

6. You know what's fattening without checking a book. If it tastes heavenly, avoid it as much as possible.

7. Drink water. It has no calories and will help you with your hunger.

8. Eat because you're hungry, not because you're bored. Take a walk instead.

9. Eat slowly and savor your food so you don't feel deprived later.

10. Don't skip meals or you will become ravenous and then overeat.

11. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with non-filling calories. They also dissolve your inhibitions and make you eat more. Be careful.

12. Eat off smaller plates; it will make you feel you're having more than you are.

Q. Does nicotine gum work to get you off cigarettes?

Using nicotine gum can double the quitting success rate from about 10 to 20 percent.

Over-the-counter nicotine gum, which is sold under a variety of brand names, was introduced in the United States in 1984. Each year, about two million Americans use nicotine gum to quit smoking.

The nicotine level in the gum is much lower than it is in cigarettes. You're supposed to use the gum no longer than 12 weeks. More than half of those who use the gum stay with it for longer than six months.

The gum is available in 2-mg and 4-mg pieces. Users are instructed to use a piece of gum every 1-2 hours for the first 6 weeks, then to reduce use to one piece every 2-4 hours for 3 weeks, and one piece every 4-8 hours for 3 weeks. In highly dependent smokers, the 4-mg gum is superior to the 2-mg gum.

Most side effects such as a sore jaw or headache don't last long. If you absorb too much nicotine accidentally, you may suffer some dizziness, a racing heart, nausea, and insomnia.

If you would like to read more columns, you can order a copy of "How to be a Healthy Geezer" at www.healthygeezer.com.

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (TIMES NEWS) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TIMES NEWS. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.