I was saddened though not surprised to read that the majority of Australians (73%) were unaware that most damage to eyes from UV light happens before we are 18. Almost half the population were unaware of the level of UV protection in their sunglasses.
Spectacle wearers were worse with 71% unaware of how much UV protection their lenses offer.
Simple steps people can take to know that their eyes are protected.
- Get your eyes tested regularly (that way you can be confident that your eyes are healthy and are seeing as well as possible. Another benefit includes by visiting regularly you benefit from improved technology and advancement in lens and contact lens design)
- Understand the impact of UV damage on the eyes (UV exposure to eyes results in cataracts, skin and other cancers around and in the eye, macular degeneration, and preventable blindness).
- Purchase quality sunglasses, generally from an Optometrist as that way you can be certain that the lenses have 100% UV protection and they can help with fit and function.
Myopia progression has been shown to slow by outdoor activity and daylight. We need at least 2 hours per day outside but we need to be wearing hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The World Health Organisation believes that 50% of the World’s population will be myopic by 2050.
Myopia is also known as short-sighted as they can see well up close but have difficulty viewing clearly in the distance. Problems that can be associated with myopia include increased risk of retinal tears and detachments. This results from the increased length of the myopic eye when compared with a normal or emmetropic eye.
Therefore it is incredibly important for us to enjoy the great outdoors but also to be unsafe and sun smart while doing it.