Our eyes are more sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) rays than our skin. From an early age, the focus has been on protecting our skin with sunscreen. But what about our eyes?
How does UV affect the eye?
When your eyes are exposed to too much UV, it can contribute to the development of eye conditions such as cataracts, pterygium and macular degeneration. Even spending a short amount of time exposed to UV can lead to eye irritation and sensitivity to light.
When does it start to affect us?
The risk of eye damage from UV rays is cumulative throughout life. That makes it extremely important to start protecting your eyes from an early age. If you haven't been protecting your eyes, make sure you start protecting them immediately.
How to protect your eyes from UV damage?
Wear good quality sunglasses when you are outdoors, including when it's cloudy outside. Look for sunglasses that meet the Australian Standards for UV protection by checking that they are labelled as category 2, 3 or 4, and have an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) of 9 or 10. Your optometrist can help you choose the best sunglass lenses and frame for your needs. Select a pair that sits well on your face. Protect yourself further by wearing a broad-brimmed hat.