Article

The Dangers of Ultraviolet Light

A hand-out for patient education and more.

A Handout You Can Photocopy to Help Your Patients Understand UV Light.
FACTS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS: What you should know about UV light.
The summer sun may feel good, but did you know that its ultraviolet (UV) waves can harm your eyes? Damage can add up over the years and lead to various serious eye problems. Here's a quick run-down of the dangers of UV exposure, and what you can do to avoid them.

THE DANGERS:

  • increased risk of developing cataracts, a clouding of the lens of your eye
  • increased risk of developing macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness
  • risk of photokeratitis, or "snow blindness"; you can also develop it from the intense sun glare off oceans, lakes, sand and pavements
  • risk of skin cancer, which can affect the eyelids and areas around the eye as well as the rest of your body
  • risk of pterigia, an overgrowth of blood vessels and fibrous tissues in the white of your eye. This condition can damage vision and sometimes requires surgery.
  • risk of pingueculum, a degenerative condition of the lubricated surface of your eye (the conjunctiva).

HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF:

  • Wear sunglasses with special coatings that block 100% of UV light.
  • Wear contact lenses with UV-blocking polymers. Remember to wear sunglasses over them to protect the parts of the eye not covered by the contact lens.
  • Wear a hat with a brim.
  • Don't be fooled by cloudy days; dangerous rays can pass through haze and thin clouds, so you still need protection.
  • Be especially careful between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. -- the most dangerous time for exposure to UV light because the sun is strongest then.

Here's a roundup of some companies and their recently introduced, new UV-protective products.

The CPF 450X GlarCutter lens from Corning

  • Corning Incorporated. Corning Medical Optics has introduced the CPF 450X GlareCutter lens, a darker version of its older CPF 450X. Both lenses are good for outdoor use by light-sensitive patients whose dark glasses don't provide enough comfort.
    Corning also announced the availability of some of its lens materials in new designs, including bifocals and progressives. The SunSensors lens material is now available in the Outlook progressive from Vision Ease. Sunsensors have received favorable reception from laboratories, dispensers and consumers, according to Corning.
    The Corning PhotoBronze 16 lens is a new high-index, glass photochromic with a thin profile. It's almost clear indoors and darkens to bronze outdoors.

    Transitions' XTRActive lenses

  • Transitions Optical, Inc. Transitions recently introduced Splitz Lenses, which change with the light from one color outdoors to another indoors. Colors (listed indoors to outdoors) are rose to purple, yellow to orange and blue to green. They're available in both prescription and plano.
    The company's Quantum Technologies, which allows variable tint lenses to darken and fade back faster, recently became available in mid-index, and its XTRActive lenses, originally introduced in gray, now offer a true green that fades back to clear. Transitions also offers free posters on UV light to educate your patients.
  • Rodenstock North America, Inc. ColorMatic Extra photochromic lenses differ from other photochromics in that their "in mass" technology distributes photochromic molecules uniformly throughout the lens during the casting process rather than merely "imbibing" the color onto the front surface of a lens.
    Relaunched late last year, their tint is more consistent and has a longer life span (up to 4 years) before wearing out than other photochromics. Where other photochromics may darken only slightly in a car, the ColorMatic Extra darkens by 50%.
    The company will also shortly launch Reeboks sunglasses.
  • Marchon Eyewear, Inc. Marchon is distributing new additions to the Nautica Sunwear line, with new elements such as double laminates, polished metals, injected plastics, metal-capped end pieces and contemporary geometric shapes. The company is also launching a new ad campaign for Fendi Eyewear, and for its own Flexon line, showing off the "twist" that shows the frame's malleability. In partnership with Nike, Marchon has introduced Nike with Flexon sunglasses.
  • Invicta Corporation. The Solera fashion photochromic lenses allow for the widest selection of fashion colors for eyeglass lenses that are lighter in density indoors and darker outdoors. Colors change quickly and remain true. They include yellow, orange, rose, violet, blue and teal, with brown and gray to come soon.
  • Costa Del Mar. The WAVE 580 sunlens, using new Wavelength Absorption for Visual Enhancement (WAVE) Technology, improves visibility of colored objects. Wearers notice increased color discrimination, sharper contrast, better definition and less effect of glare. The technology incorporates an advanced filtering compound into the lens material and is the first to customize wavelength absorption of the visual spectrum.
  • Luxottica Group. A new collection of REVO sunglasses, including eight styles, six metals and two acetates, all with flex temples has debuted, using the Light Management System, which enhances contrast and reduces UV rays.