Here’s the skinny on UV Radiation: A Message from the Vision Council

By Mid-Coast Optical | Jun 04, 2014


Summer Tips for UV Safety Month


As designated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, June is UV Safety Month. The act of forgetting to pick up your UV-protective eyewear is seemingly harmless, but it’s a big risk. Many people still don’t understand that the hours, days and years of unprotected exposure can add up, leaving eyes vulnerable to short- and long-term problems.


The Vision Council just released a special report explaining the serious dangers of UV radiation on eyes and the important role proper eyewear can play in mitigating UV harm. Picture This: A Lifetime of UV Protection provides important information about UV radiation, including when and where UV rays are most intense. Readers can use this report to assess their own personal UV risk and determine how well or ill prepared they are for sun exposure.

Here’s the skinny on UV Radiation:

The sun emits three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. These rays are neither seen nor felt by humans. UVC rays are completely absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere; UVB rays are partially absorbed. The rest, including all UVA rays, pass through the atmosphere, ultimately reaching the Earth’s surface.

UVA rays, which account for the majority of UV exposure, pierce the outer and middle layer of the skin and can damage the retina of the eye. UVB rays damage the skin’s outer layer. UVB is a culprit for sunburns, pterygium (an abnormal growth on the surface of the eye) and photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye). UVB rays have also been shown to accelerate cataract development and age-related macular degeneration, and to cause a form of cancer on the eye.

UVA and UVB rays can reflect off surfaces such as water, sand, snow and even buildings. Reflected UV increases exposure levels and can double UV risk to the eyes in certain conditions.

Here’s the best way to protect yourself:

*Get a pair on sunglasses from a credible source that has a sticker or label indicating UVA and UVB protection

*Buy prescription sunwear if needed and work with an optometrist/optician

*Use a protective carrying case to protect your sunglasses from scratches, breaks and to help prevent you from misplacing your eyewear

It’s never too late to begin a healthy routine of UV protection! For more tips and info, read more of the report here.

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