What is UV?
- UV or Ultraviolet Radiation can be classified as UVA, UVB or UVC according to wavelength
- UV light is not visible to the naked eye.
- UVA and UVB rays penetrate the eye whereas most UVC rays are absorbed by our ever thinning ozone layer.
- When UV is absorbed by a molecule, energy is transferred to the molecule and causes damage to the tissue.
- This causes changes to DNA, resulting in distorted proteins and death of cells.
UV Damage in Children
- Children are more vulnerable to UV damage as they have larger pupils and clearer lenses – a greater amount of light penetrates the ocular tissues causing an increased risk of complications.
- Children spend more time outdoors – approximately 3 times more than adults.
- The lenses in children’s eyes do not block as much UV radiation as they do in adults’ eyes, putting them at increased risk for sun damage to the eyes.
- UV damage is cumulative – when damage occurs it can never be reversed, only treated.
Protecting your eyes from UV
- A large brimmed hat can provide up to 50% protection from UV
- Wrapped sunglasses with a UV 400 filter on the lenses provide maximum protection from UV
- Tinted lenses or sunglasses with no UV filter cause the pupils to dilate even more in sunlight than if one were to wear no lenses at all – this allows even more light to flood into the eye resulting in increased UV exposure.
- Bad sunglasses = MORE damage than no sunglasses!