Look out, your eyes are constantly under attack

Kumuda Setty

Kumuda Setty

Auckland, February 28, 2022

The serious risk of UV exposure is largely ignored

                    
                                       Your eyes are constantly under attack (Image from Essilor Website)

Despite the increasing importance of vision in today’s society, the eye is not thought about in the same way as other organs and little is done to protect it.

Whilst consumers are beginning to understand that there may be environmental factors that can have an impact on the eye’s health, such as UV and visual fatigue from screen overuse, the overall level of public awareness of the ocular hazards of UV is dangerously low in New Zealand.

The Sun’s ultraviolet rays: We don’t see them, we don’t feel them, yet they attack our eyes every day. Better known for their damaging effects to the skin, UV rays are just as harmful to our eyes.

Our eyes are extremely sensitive to UV as they are the only internal tissues of the human body directly exposed to UV light. Just like we need to protect our skin against UV, we also need to watch out for our eyes.

UV is not just Sunshine

Contrary to popular belief, UV rays are not necessarily synonymous with Sunshine. Whatever the weather, the season and no matter how bright it is outside, UV is always present in the atmosphere. Our eyes are exposed to UV radiation 365 days a year, even on cloudy days.

UV rays are not just invisible, they are all around us because they can be reflected off surrounding surfaces such as water, snow, windows and sidewalks.

In fact, only half of total UV radiation comes directly from the Sun. The other half reaches us indirectly by way of refraction through clouds in the atmosphere or reflection off the surfaces around us. Even with our backs to the Sun or in the shade, UV rays can reach our eyes. To a certain extent, the eye’s naturally protective mechanisms – the eyelashes, blinking, pupil dilation – help protect it against UV. However, its protective capacity remains limited.

 
Ultraviolet Rays are active all the time (Infographics from Sunshine Eyecare Hospital, India)

 Children more vulnerable

Children are particularly vulnerable to UVA and UVB. Since they spend more time outdoors, they are more exposed than adults to UV’s harmful effects. The annual UV exposure of a child is on average three times higher than that of an adult. Moreover, children have larger pupils and a transparent crystalline lens. Therefore, their eyes do not properly filter UV rays, and their retina receives a greater amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation.

For all these reasons, it is especially important to protect children’s eyes against UV, not only in the summer, but every single day of the year.

UV rays are harmful to the eyes and their particularly fragile contour.

In the short term, they can cause temporary discomfort such as glare, blurred vision, inflammation and photokeratitis. But UV rays are more importantly responsible for long-term cumulative damage, as they can contribute to premature aging of the eye and early-onset cataracts. Some eye conditions and diseases are partly due to the normal ageing process and cannot be avoided.

However, it is entirely possible to prevent UV damage by wearing eyewear that provides UV protection. It is essential to protect your eyes to preserve your eyesight and your health.

When you choose your glasses or Sunglasses, consider their E-SPF® index, their level of UV protection. And of course, don’t forget to wear them every time you go out!

 
Essilor is at the forefront of protecting human eyes worldwide

 

Consumer Awareness Programme

Essilor will continue to run its longstanding Crizal Cancer Society Consumer Awareness Campaign alongside Cancer Society New Zealand this year.

The campaign aims to increase public awareness of the need for Sun protection, including the eyes, which remains a major challenge to reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Overwhelmingly, New Zealanders have been made aware of the risk of skin cancer via the “Slip Slop Slap” campaigns of Cancer Society New Zealand, now we would like to create an awareness of the dangers of UV exposure on the eyes.

Essilor’s Crizal range is the only prescription lens approved by the Cancer Society New Zealand and it is the most advanced anti-reflection prescription lens in the market. Many who wear prescription spectacles have difficulty adequately protecting their eyes, especially the UV coming from the sides and reflecting off the back surface of the lens into the eye.

The Crizal UV prescription lenses cut 100% of UV coming to the eye through the lens and dramatically reduce UV being reflected onto the eye from the back of the lens, which will increase the protection of the eyes and skin around them.

To address this need, a new generation of Crizal® Lens with E-­SPF® of 35+ and 50+ has been engineered to effectively shield wearers from both transmitted and reflected UV R, resulting in a lens that truly maximizes UVR protection. The range includes Crizal Sapphire HR, Crizal Rock, Crizal Easy PRO and Crizal Sun XProtect.

The E-­SPF Index

Until recently, a global rating system indicating the overall level of UV protection provided by all types of glasses’ lenses – clear, Sun, corrective or non­corrective ­- did not exist.

That is why the E­-SPF index was created,­ to give us a point of reference for choosing eyewear that ensures superior UV protection. The E­-SPF rating system aims to raise consumer awareness about the importance of protecting our eyes against UV and thus help us improve the health of our eyes

The E-SPF index measures the UV protection provided by both sides of a lens, especially protection against back-side UV reflection. The higher the E­-SPF index, the better the UV protection provided by the lens

Ask about the Crizal Range when you visit your Optometrists during your next eye check-up.

Kumuda Setty is National Sales & Marketing Manager at Essilor New Zealand based in Henderson, West Auckland. Essilor is a global leader in the ophthalmic industry, committed to providing solutions to correct and protect the visual health of people worldwide.

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