UV RISK AND PROTECTION
Most of the UV radiation is absorbed by the front of the eye although some of it does reach the light-sensitive retina. The UV radiation present in sunlight is not useful for vision.
You probably know that the sun s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is dangerous to skin but did you also know that this same UV radiation puts your eyes at risk of damage - regardless of where you live?
What is UV? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is comprised of invisible high energy rays from the sun that lie just beyond the violet/blue end of the visible spectrum. Most of the UV radiation is absorbed by the front of the eye although some of it does reach the light-sensitive retina. The UV radiation present in sunlight is not useful for vision.
There are good scientific reasons to be concerned about UV radiation contributing to age-related changes and a number of serious diseases of the eyes. These include cataracts pterygium (growth on the front of the eye) cancer of the skin around the eye photokeratitis (UV burn) corneal degenerative changes and possibly macular degeneration.
Exposure to UV radiation is most intense from 10 AM till 3 PM and during summer months. UV radiation is reflected off surfaces. Snow water and white sand greatly increase the exposure to UV radiation.
Children are not immune to the risk of ocular damage from UV radiation particularly since they typically spend more time outdoors in the sunlight than do adults.
Protection can be achieved by simple safe and inexpensive methods such as wearing a brimmed hat or using eyewear that absorbs UV radiation. UV absorption can be incorporated into nearly all optical materials currently in use. UV protection is just as important in daily eye ware as in sunglasses.
There is presently no uniform labeling of sunglasses that provides adequate information to the consumer. Labels should be examined carefully to insure that the lenses purchased absorb at least 99-100% of both UV-B and UV-A. Consumers are advised to be wary of claims that sunglasses "block harmful UV" without saying how much. The degree of UV protection is not related to price.
All the plastic and high index lenses (new thinner lighter lenses) at our office have the UV coating that does block 100% of UV radiation. There is no charge for this coating as we would not want our patients to be without this invaluable protection.