How Can I Protect My Eyes From Harmful UV Rays?
New Zealand has high ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels during summer. This is due to Earth’s orbit around the sun which puts New Zealand closer to the sun during summer time and our low air pollution and large ozone hole allowing more UV radiation through. Many people do not realise that exposure to UV rays can harm eyes and affect vision.
How Do UV Rays Damage Eyes?
UV rays are classified in three different groups – UVA, UVB and UVC. The mid range UVB rays are a risk factor for cataracts (lens in the eye becomes cloudy) and macular degeneration (the gradual loss of central vision). It can also cause pterygium (skin growth on the eye surface) and skin cancer around the eyelids. Certain conditions such as glare reflections from the snow and ocean, can increase the intensity of UV radiation. Hence, it is important to protect your eyes from UV radiation and to wear sunglasses for activities such as fishing and skiing.
Children are at greater risk of UV damage due to their larger pupil size and clearer lens in their eyes which do not filter out as much UV rays. Children also spend more time outdoors and are less likely to wear sunglasses or hats.
Some Of The Best Ways To Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection to block out UV radiation. Wrap-around sunglasses offer better protection as they block UV rays coming in from the sides, over and under the lenses. Talk to your optometrist about fitting prescription tinted lenses into sunglasses to help you see well. You should wear sunglasses even on cloudy days for best protection.
- Polarised lenses in sunglasses can reduce glare reflecting off other surfaces providing more comfortable vision.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide shade for your face outdoors.
- Wear contact lenses that are designed to block UV rays. However, sunglasses should still be worn with the contact lenses to protect the areas of the eye not covered by the contact lenses.
At John O’Connor Optometrists, our HOYA antireflective clear lenses include 100% UV protection and reduce the glare from computer screens and car headlights. We also offer Hoya NuPolar polarised lenses with 100% UV protection. To talk to our optometrists about eye protection from UV rays please email our Auckland Optometrists or phone Newmarket Optometrist 09 522 1283 and Henderson Optometrist 09 836 1731.