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Your eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV than your skin

Your eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV than your skin

by Dr Catherine Tromp 14/09/2018

Why it’s so important to protect your eyes from UV Just like our skin, our eyes are susceptible to both the short term and long term effects of UV rays, the facts don’t lie:

  • Australia has some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world [1]

  • UV causes ten times the amount of damage to the eyes than to the skin [2]

  • Children are more sensitive to UV damage of the skin and eyes than adults [3]

  • 57% of Australian parents routinely protect their eyes from the sun, while only 32% of Australian children have their eyes protected from UV [4]

  • It has been estimated 20% of cataracts and almost 50% of pterygium treated every year in Australia is caused by sun exposure. [5]

I urge everyone to protect their eyes from long term sun damage with a pair of quality sunglasses and most importantly UV blocking lenses.

That’s why we recommend sunglasses for all adults and kids as a way to encourage everyone to get out and about but also prevent long term eye damage. While often people see sunnies as a fashion garment, we see them as an essential item to safe guard against any vision problems in the future.

The Skin Cancer Foundation's research has shown that the eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV than your skin. Often people think that being under a tree or wearing a hat is enough to protect them from harmful UV. However, it is crucial to wear quality lens sunglasses to protect from indirect UV damage coming from reflections off surfaces such as water, buildings or roads. Also direct sunlight can be more prevalent at this time of year as the sun is lower in the sky especially during the morning and afternoons. Creating an angle that streams direct sunlight into the eye.

As part of our UV education campaign, I urge people to take 40 minutes today that may just save your sight tomorrow, 40 minutes is all it takes for me to undertake a 360° comprehensive eye consultation. This consultation is the main weapon against avoidable vision loss and blindness by picking up early signs of eye disease so it can be diagnosed and treated.The 360° eye consultation includes a holistic and extensive eye examination plus advice on health,diet and lifestyle and the latest eyewear solutions for maintaining healthy eyes and vision.

References ‘Global Solar UV Index: Australian measurements, forecasts and comparison with the UK.’ Gies, Roy, Javorniczky, Henderson, Lemus-Deschamps and Driscoll, Photochem Photobiol, 2004. The Skin Cancer Foundation, Australia Childhood sun exposure as a risk factor for melanoma: a systematic review of epidemiologic studies. Whiteman, Whiteman and Green, Cancer Causes Control, 2001. ‘Evaluation of the performance of photochromic spectacle lenses in children and adolescents aged 10 to 15 years’ – Lakkis and Weidemann, Clinical and Experimental Optometry, July 2006 Position statement, developed by Cancer Council Australia’s National Skin Cancer Committee and reviewed by RANZO (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists) July 2013. Quality sunglasses are imperative for adults and children to protect them from the long term damage of UV exposure.