UV light can damage your eyes

Eye care is our language here at Haydon Optometrists. We believe if your eyes could talk they would ask you to protect them from UV rays. So we think the new lenses from Zeiss with 100% UV protection on all their clear lenses are essential for long-term eye health. 

UV exposure over time can cause various eye diseases such as cataracts, macula degeneration and accelerated ageing of the tissue around the eyes. Forty-eight percent of world blindness is caused by cataracts. 

What we know is that UV radiation is always there. All year round, all day, in winter and summer, and in sunny and overcast cloudy conditions. 

Most New Zealanders habitually grab their sunglasses and put on some sun cream on a cloudless day when the sun is shining and they intend to spend a long part of the day outside. However it’s everyday damage that’s we want you to understand too. It’s not well known, but UV radiation penetrates your windows too. While most windowpanes provide a certain degree of UV protection, a portion of the damaging UV light – UV-A radiation – comes through without being filtered out. You can see this in the fading colour of clothes that have been in a display window for a longer period of time: the sunlight causes the colours to fade.

This demonstrates that UV light can damage your clothes, and your eyes as well as your skin – and not just when the sun is shining. 

Therefore here at Haydon’s we believe normal spectacle lenses should have a special UV filter too. We recommend lenses with protection up to 400nm will effectively protect your eyes from UV radiation. 

Please don’t confuse the glare protection in your sunglasses as UV protection.  Sunglasses with glare protection reduce the intensity of the sunlight. However, this only minimises brightness, not the level of UV radiation. 

Glare-protection-only sunglasses sometimes can do more damage than wearing no sunglasses at all. What happens is that the dark lenses of sunglasses cause the pupil to expand, letting in even more UV light. 

So, when purchasing sunglass lenses ensure they offer optimum protection against glare, reflections and damaging UV radiation. 

When buying spectacle lenses, always check that they offer UV protection up to 400nm. If the salesperson can't give you any information or only very imprecise details about the level of protection offered by the sunglass lenses, you shouldn't buy from them.

Come in and talk to our team at Haydon Optometrists, we have all the information you need to help protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays.

Issue 103 October 2019