Are you protecting your eyes from UV light?
June 15, 2012
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight can cause harmful effects to the eye. The cumulative damage from UV light can cause or accelerate cataracts, corneal/conjunctival disease, macular degeneration, etc. (Cornea is the transparent layer through which the light enters the eye; conjunctiva is a white layer that covers the front part of the eye, and macula is the name of the central part of retina, the photosensitive layer in the back of the eye.)
Who needs UV protection?
- Everyone! We all need to protect our eyes from the harmful UV rays, especially in sunny California! There are certain individuals who are especially at higher risk from UV damage such as:
- Those who play or work outdoor: fishermen, construction workers, athletes, skiers, and swimmers.
- People who take light-sensitizing medications such as diuretics, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, etc.
- Patients who have had cataract surgery.
- Children also need UV protection. Children’s eyes may allow more of the sun’s harmful UV light reach the retina, the photosensitive layer in the back of the eye. In youngsters, their natural lens transmits more than three times of the UV radiation compared to early adulthood.
How do I get UV protection for my eyes?
- A special invisible coating can be applied to the lenses of eye glasses which can provide protection to both UV-A and UV-B, two forms of UV light. This coating can be applied to clear eye glasses or tinted sunglasses. These especially-treated eyeglass lenses are very effective in preventing the harmful effects of UV to the eyes.
Do all Sun Glasses have UV protection?
- No! Please make sure that the sunglasses that you buy screen both UVA and UVB by more than 90% (ideally 99-100%).
How is atmospheric ozone related to UV light from the sun?
- As the ozone level thins, more harmful UV light can enter our eyes. Wear a hat or visor when you are outside, even on overcast days. UV light passes through clouds.