The Sun & The Eyes
Our exposure to sun is constant on daily basis. About 90 % of people are aware of what kind of damages ultraviolet radiation(UVR) does to our skin, but only 10 % know how it is damaging to our eyes. Also use of Plano sunglasses is done sporadically and 1 in 4 people never wears sunglasses at all. There are three types of ultraviolet light. UV-A, UV-B, UV-C which of them are separated by their wavelength. Most of UV-C (200nm-290nm) radiation is absorbed in the atmosphere. UV-B (290nm-315nm) is absorbed by DNA which causes cell damage "B" represents for sunburn. UV-A(315nm-380nm) is associated with aging of skin and also retina damage since retinal pigment absorbs ultraviolet radiation in 380nm to 780nm, partly in blue end of the visible light spectrum. Amazingly 80 % of lifetime ultraviolet radiation exposure happens by 18 years of age, according to the World HEalth Organization(WHO). Among the damages of ultraviolet radiation to the eyes, the most common ones are development of pterygium and cataracts. Because the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation does not show up immediately, in fact is delayed by years and decades, educating and motivating patients on use and wear of sunglasses can be challenging. The direct exposure is only part of radiation source. The light reflected from surfaces such as fresh snow and body of water can reflect as high as 85% of UV-B. When purchasing a pair of sunglasses, you need to discuss if the lenses have both 100% UV-A and UV-B protection and should not judge by the shade of darkness to presume the optimal coverage. Some contact lenses also have UVR protection. It is our duty as eye are providers to educate and provide the optimal UV protection to the patients. Ask us on different options.