Ultraviolet and You (Part 1): An Eye Primer

Posted on June 18, 2012 · Posted in Eye Health

A few weeks ago, the following photo hit mainstream news:

(Photo: Jennifer Gordon/NEJM)

A 30 year veteran of the open road as a truck driver, William McElligott had in one day become the new face of the dangers of the sun.  (For those who might not have seen the photo or know what to look for, the left side of his face/right side of the picture is the side closest to the driver’s-side window and it shows the sun-related damage)  Although his fame infamy happened quickly, the skin damage did not. Rather, it’s the result of years of cumulative ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.

The eyes are not immune to UV damage although they often get neglected when people consider protection.  In fact, UV exposure has been linked to conditions such as benign or cancerous lesions of the eyelids, cataracts, and macular degeneration.  The problem is that even small amounts of exposure over an extended period of time significantly increases our risk for resulting eye issues.

The good news is that protecting the eyes is actually quite easy: wear quality sunglasses whenever you are outside.

  • What does “quality” mean?
  • What should you look for when shopping for sunglasses?
  • Does my child need protection?
  • Does the color of the lens matter?

All great questions that we’ll address in our next two articles.  Feel free to add your questions below and we’ll be happy to discuss them.