The ABC’s on Ultraviolet Radiation
The AOA recommends sunglasses that protect your vision from 90-100% of UV radiation
With the arrival
of summer come all the outdoor activities many of us look forward to. This in
return equates to more exposure to the sun. We are all very aware of the
damaging effects sunlight has our skin, but what about our eyes?
sun emits invisible, high energy rays called ultraviolet radiation (UV). This
ultraviolet radiation serves no visual purpose and provides no benefit to the
eyes; in fact, most Americans don’t recognize the important role of UV
protection to prevent damage and visual impairment.
A recent American
Eye-Q® survey by the American Optometric Association’s stated only 47% of
Americans believed UV protection is the most important factor when purchasing
sunglasses. “Whether it’s a cloudy or sunny day, summer or winter, eyes, just
like sun, need to be protected from the sun’s UV rays in order to decrease the
risk of diseases and disorders” said Fraser Horn, O.D., a member of the AOA’s
Sports Vision Council.
It’s long been known that UV radiation from the
sun can harm eyes. Now Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is raising awareness
about the link between depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer- which blocks some
UV light from penetrating the Earth’s atmosphere- and cataracts that are
caused by prolonged exposure to UV light.
Children’s eyes are also very
susceptible to UV damage because the crystalline lenses in their eyes are more
transparent to UV light than adults. With children receiving up to three times
more sun exposure than adults, parents should be proactive in protecting their
child’s vision from UV rays. When spending time outdoors it is important to
not only apply UV blocking sunscreen to your skin but also around the eye
area, and to wear sunglasses or contact lenses that offer adequate UV
Your vision is priceless and it is important that you
maintain your visual wellness by scheduling a yearly comprehensive eye exam
with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. For additional information on how
you can protect your vision from UV radiation or to find an eye doctor, please