With increased levels of UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface, largely due to stratospheric ozone layer depletion, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your eyes. It is therefore of extreme importance to eliminate your direct exposure to sunlight especially during the summer months between the hours of 11.00am to 3.00pm when the UV radiation is stronger. Just remember that at a particular time during the day, if your shadow is shorter than you are, the levels of UV radiation are very high and it is critical for you to protect not only your skin but your eyes as well.
Long term exposure to UV radiation can affect the outer tissues of the eye such as the eyelids as well as internal structures of the eye such as the crystalline lens. More specifically research has shown that long term exposure to the sun without adequate eye protection can increase the likelihood of developing the following eye disorders:
- Cataract: a gradual clouding of the physiological crystalline lens which is directly connected with the blurring of vision
- Macular Degeneration: the depletion (‘breakdown’) of the macula which is the most detail sensitive area of the retina, responsible for central vision
- Photokeratitis (Snow blindness): This is a painful but temporary burn of the cornea (the transparent outermost tissue of the eye) caused for example by exposure to high levels of sun UV radiation during a day at the beach, or even reflection of UV radiation off the snow during a day of skiing
- Pterygium: Very frequently seen in hot and dusty countries like Cyprus. It is an abnormal but usually non-cancerous tissue growth on the inner or outer corner of the sclera, which is the white part of the eye
- And even certain types of skin cancer of the eyelids: Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer to affect the eyelids, and there is a strong linkage between this type of eyelid cancer and UV radiation
CHILDREN need smaller versions of authentic, protective adult sunglasses and NOT TOY SUNGLASSES. Choose a good pair of sunglasses which fits your child’s face perfectly and shields the eyes in all angles. As far as harsh summer months, find for your child and why not you as well, a wide-brimmed hat to wear with your sunglasses. Wide-brimmed hats greatly reduce the amount of UV radiation that reaches the eyes.
Your sunglasses need to be kept in good condition, so care for them with cautious, following expert advice, because if not, they might not continue to give your eyes the expected protection as when bought brand new.