You may be aware of the dangers of UV exposure to your skin, but are you aware that your eyes are vulnerable to UV damage anytime of the day, anytime of the year?
Almost 60 per cent of Australians believe it is only the midday sun that poses the greatest UV threat but this not the case. UV exposure to the eye before 10am and after 2pm may be higher than during the middle of the day on some days due to the angle of the sun in relation to the eye.
Make sure you protect your eyes all day and all year round, as UV exposure can peak at times when ordinarily you may not be wearing UV protective lenses and may believe you are not exposed, such as when the UV is coming from behind you. It is not only the direct sun on a fine, clear cloudless day in summer that can cause damage. Research has shown that a greater proportion of ultraviolet rays can reach the eye from scattered sunlight from clouds and light reflected from the ground and off water.
U are Vulnerable to UV damage all times of day, all year round. This summer, always use UV protective lenses in combination with other UV protection measures such as remaining in the shade, wearing a hat and sunscreen.
This summer you will be seeing and hearing a lot about protecting yourself from the damaging effects of UV rays. The Optometrists Association's national UV Eye Protection public awareness campaign aims to explain the importance of protecting your eyes from damaging UV rays.
You can get involved by joining our campaign Facebook page, entering the competition and ordering your own U are Vulnerable campaign materials to help promote the importance of always wearing UV eye protection.
Despite 60 per cent of Australian adults being concerned about ultraviolet (UV) damage to their eyes, nearly half fail to always wear sunglasses or UV protective lenses on sunny days.
Did you know that accumulated UV exposure to your eyes can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration (a leading cause of blindness), pterygium (a fleshy growth on the eye), solar keratopathy, and skin cancer of the eyelids and around the eyes?
Even short bursts of unprotected UV exposure can lead to eye pain, irritation and sensitivity to light. All UV eye exposure, regardless of how short, adds up in the long term.
UV radiation levels are three times higher during summer than in winter. Higher levels of UV are also experienced at high altitudes such as at ski fields and when light is reflected off a surface such as water or snow.
It is important to wear suitable UV protective lenses all the time and have your eyes tested regularly or as advised by your Optometrist.
Adding a UV protective coating to your prescription lenses, buying prescription sunglasses with back surface UV protection or buying sunglasses that can be worn over your glasses is a great way to reduce your UV exposure. Some contact lenses also have built-in UV protection, but it is recommended that you still wear sunglasses over the top to protect the rest of the eye.
Did you know that EPF is SPF for the eyes?
The quality of sunglasses does not necessarily relate to their darkness or cost so you must check the label to ensure they meet Australian Standards. For the best UV eye protection, choose sunglasses that meet Australian Standards for UV protection by checking that they are labelled as category 2, 3 or 4, are marked EPF (Eye Protection Factor) 9 or 10, have a bridge setting as close to your eyes as possible without touching your eyelashes and have side protection (wrap-around style) to block outside glare. To find out more click here.
Make UV protection part of your everyday routine, all year round.
Your optometrist can give you the best advice to suit your lifestyle.