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UV and What it Means for Us!

sun damageThis image is of a man who was a truck driver (in the USA) for over 28 years.

I remember being stunned when this was first presented at a conference some years ago to demonstrate UV damage– the difference between the right and left side of his face of course says it all!

We all have to live with UV so managing its affect on a day to day basis needs to be something we consider:

  • The World Health Organisation classes UV as a Class 1 radiation – that means it can cause cancer in humans;
  • UVA causes skin cancer and more than 60% of skin cancers are above the neck with 5-10% occurring on our eye lids;
  • UVB causes direct DNA damage;
  • Most sun exposure for our eyes occurs between 8am and 10am and 2pm and 4pm for most of the year; skin gets direct UV which peaks through the middle of the day;
  • 50% of UV reaching the eye is reflected off surrounding sources – snow (88%), surf (30%), concrete (12%), water (13%), sand (20%) – and the back surface of our spectacle lenses unless they are appropriately coated.

While we are generally aware of the dangers of UV for our skin, there is less awareness of the sun’s impact on our eyes:

  • It is estimated that 20% of cataracts and almost 50% of pterygiums are caused by sun exposure;
  • UV is also implicated in Macular Degeneration which is the most common cause of vision impairment in our aging population – and like skin cancer, the damage is done when we are young.

The best safeguard against UV eye damage is to wear quality sunglasses and have regular eye examinations to monitor ongoing eye health.

We only recommend and use prescription lenses which give an extra level of UV protection in the coatings, to give you extra peace of mind!

So…. The bottom line is that we need UV protection for our eyes (and skin) all the time!

And it’s time to think about making sunglasses part of your children’s routine before going out to play-  slip, slop, slap and slide on those sunnies!