1705 Park Street ● Regina, SK. ● S4N 2G3
Phone: 306-719-2020 ● Fax: 306-719-2021
UV SAFETY BLOG
July is UV Safety Month
What is UV radiation
UV stands for ultraviolet radiation and, while UV rays are invisible to our eyes, they can be very damaging to the structures of the eye. There are 3 main types of UV radiation: UV A, UV B and UV C. UV C radiation is the most damaging as it has this shortest wavelength but, fortunately, UV C is mostly absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere (specifically the ozone layer – another reason to be concerned about the depletion of our ozone!). Welder’s keratitis is caused by damaging UV C radiation. UV B radiation has slightly longer wavelengths and is the type of UV responsible for stimulating melanin in our skin and causing a suntan. High doses of UV B radiation will cause a sunburn. UV A are the longest wavelength UV radiation and this allows these rays to penetrate to the internal structures of the eye which can damage the lens and retina.
Risk of UV Light
UV light rays can be reflected off of surfaces, including sandy beaches and water. These damaging UV light rays can result in the formation and early development of cataracts, cause eyelid cancers, cause a painful “sunburn” on the front surface of the eye, and damage the retina. In particular, UV rays can be damaging to the part of the retina involved in central vision called the macula. For patients with macular degeneration, UV light has been linked to progression of the eye disease. As well, directly staring at the sun can cause irreversible damage to the macular resulting in impaired vision.
Prevention, especially when you’re young, is key to reducing long term damage from the sun. Ultimately, wearing 100% UV-blocking sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats when enjoying the outdoors, is important to shielding our eyes from the harmful rays.
Are all sunglasses created equal?
There are certain qualities to look for when choosing a pair of sunglasses. Make sure you select sunglasses that have 100% UV protection. Additionally, be sure the quality of the lenses are perfectly matched in colour and free of imperfections or distortions. It is also recommended to use a dark grey neutral-density filter as a sunglasses tint as these lenses provide the most natural colour vision (these lenses do not distort colour vision the way other tints do).
Prevention is very important when it comes to your eyes. In addition to wearing UV protection and healthy lifestyle, it is important to have your eyes examined regularly. You can schedule your routine dilated eye exam by calling 306-719-2020. Be kind to your eyes!
Don’t forget to grab your sunglasses the next time you head outside for your summer activities! And make sure you are up-to-date for your routine eye exam!
American Academy of Ophthalmology: http://www.aao.org/newsroom/observances
All About Vision: http://www.allaboutvision.com/sunglasses/spf.htm
Doctors of Optometry: http://doctorsofoptometry.ca/risks-associated-with-sun-exposure/