UV Eye Protection After Cataract Surgery

Thursday, November 15 2012

UV Eye Protection After Cataract Surgery

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause significant damage to the eyes. Spending time in the sun without wearing proper eye protection can contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration and cancerous and non-cancerous growths on the eye. To prevent eye damage, and to protect your eyes following vision correction surgery or cataract eye surgery, you should wear sunglasses whenever you are outside in the sun.

During the summer, the sun’s UVA and UVB rays are at least three times higher than they are during the winter, but even in the fall and winter seasons, the ultraviolet rays can damage the eyes. Sunglasses should be worn any time you are outside, especially if participating in water sports or snow sports. Eye surgery and even some medications can increase photosensitivity, making it even more critical to wear sunglasses.

When selecting sunglasses, you should look for more than a designer label (though it is possible to find designer sunglasses made to protect your eyes). Select sunglasses that are specifically designed to protect the eye from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, not just designed to make a fashion statement.  Follow these guidelines when selecting protective eyewear:

o   Look for sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of ultraviolet rays. This is the most important factor to consider when buying sunglasses. If you don’t select sunglasses with UV Protection, you aren’t doing your eyes any good. Wraparound sunglasses are ideal, as they will also block rays from entering from the side. UV protection has nothing to do with how dark the tint of your sunglasses is. If the label reads “UV absorption up to 400m,” it is equivalent to 100 percent UV protection.

o   Select sunglasses with impact-resistant lenses. While no lens is truly unbreakable, look for sunglasses with plastic or polycarbonate plastic lenses. These are more likely to resist shatter when hit. Polycarbonate plastic lenses are used in many sport sunglasses because they are the strongest lenses, but they also scratch easily. If you go with polycarbonate lenses, look for a pair with a scratch-resistant coating.

o   Check the optical quality of sunglasses. You want sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, but you also want to be able to see well when wearing your sunglasses. The only way to check UV protection is to use a UV meter to test your sunglasses. One frequently asked question we receive is, “Can't sunglasses be dangerous for the eyes because they dilate the pupil and cause extra UV exposure onto the lens?”  Well, in some cases this is true, But NOT for good quality sunglasses. Properly manufactured sunglasses absorb 100 percent of the ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage your eyes. If you have doubts about your sunglasses, come our Key-Whitman Optical Center where we have little machines, called UV meters, that can measure the amount of UV a lens can absorb. It takes just a few seconds to read the UV meter and ensure your eyes are properly protected.

Sunglasses should be worn in any season, even on cloudy days and are most critical at peak sun times between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest. Eye protection should also be used when tanning in a tanning bed.

The Key-Whitman Optical Center offers a variety of eyewear and sunglasses choices, including the latest in designer sunglasses. All of our sunglasses provide 100 percent ultraviolet protection, and we offer many pairs with “true” polarization. Our optical center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Do you have questions about how the sun may damage your eyes? Ask us in the comments below, or on our Facebook Page!