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Whatever your Age, Shade your Eyes

| On 31, Jan 2015

What you see is what you get doesn’t apply to UV because you can’t see it but it’s doing serious and permanent damage to your eyes.

Sharon Siddique, PhD, Managing Director of All For Eyes, a shop specialising in vision aids warns that “UV radiation is composed of invisible, high-energy, light rays from the sun that are found beyond the violet/blue end of the visible spectrum. Our eyes are particularly sensitive to damage from ultraviolet A (AV-A) and ultraviolet B (UV-B) light.  Children, the elderly, and those of us with eye problems are particularly at risk.

Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can leave the eyes red, teary, strained, and light sensitive.  Just as with the skin, damage is cumulative, and can lead to an increased risk of cataracts and retinal damage, including AMD (age-related macular degeneration).

Children’s eyes are more vulnerable because their pupils are larger, meaning more light enters the eye, and reaches the retina. By the age of 18,  studies show that more UV light will have been absorbed by a child’s eyes than over the rest of his life.  And yet we seldom see Singaporean children wearing sunglasses.  As Singapore’s
population ages, we are already seeing the effects of long-term exposure to the sun’s harmful rays as the rates of cataract and AMD increase.

Ultraviolet protection is especially important for people after cataract surgery.  Since the lens absorbs UV radiation, individuals who have had cataract surgery are at increased risk of retinal injury from sunlight. This is because although the lens implant contains some UV blocking agents, it does not provide the same degree of
protection to the macula as the natural lens.  Taking certain medications – such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers – also increases the eye’s sensitivity to light, and potential damage.

     When shopping for sunglasses, ask:

  • Do the lenses provide both UV-A and UV-B protection?
  • Are the lenses polarized, which ensures that they will reduce reflected glare
  • Do the frames fit snugly to provide the eyes with maximum protection, particularly over and around the rims of the frames? Sunglasses which are specifically designed to fit-over a normal pair of spectacles may be particularly suitable for many spectacle-dependent Singaporeans.

All for Eyes is at Tanglin Shopping Centre, #05-23, tel. (65) 6238 7387

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