With summer fast approaching, families of Townville are being warned to safeguard against Ultraviolet (UV) damage to their eyes.
“Almost 60 per cent of Australians believe the midday sun poses the greatest UV threat, but this is not true for our eyes,” says Georgina Preece, our consulting optometrist.
“UV exposure to the eye before 10am and after 2pm may be higher than during the middle of the day due to the angles of the sun in relation to the eye.”
With higher levels of UV radiation now reaching the Earth’s surface than ever before, it is important that we all take precautions to protect our eyes, and those of our children.
“Everyone knows the dangers of Ultraviolet radiation for our skin, but many people are not aware that the damage to our eyes can be just as profound,” says Georgina.
Both long term and short-term exposure to UV radiation can harm the eyes, affect the vision and damage the overall eye health, noted to be contributing factors in macular degeneration, cataracts, skin cancer of the eyelids, pterygium, and photokeratitis.
Follow three simple steps to protect your eyes:
- Understand the risks: UV radiation comes from all directions at all times of day.
- Know that radiation can reflect from the ground, water, snow, sand and other bright surfaces.
- Wear polarised protective eyewear to block out direct and reflected UV radiation.
“Always choose sunglasses that meet Australian Standards for UV protection by checking that they are labelled as category 2, 3 or 4),” says Georgina.
“It is also important that they fit your face properly by sitting in close to the bridge of your nose without touching the eyelashes, and ideally wrap around to block out side glare.”
The damaging effects of UV radiation to the eye are cumulative and can be advanced before you notice any changes in vision, so it is important to start good habits early. No child is too young to start wearing sunglasses, they even make them small enough for babies.
“A regular check-up with your local optometrist is vital, particularly for children and people who spend a lot of time outdoors,” says Georgina. “Get your eyes checked every two years if you are under the age of 65, or annually if you are over 65.”