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Vision 101: UV Radiation and Protecting Your Eyes

February 27, 2017


Maybe the words don’t quite fit that tune, but then outdoor exposure to UV radiation and blue light is nothing to sing about. Here we suggest what to share with patients about why exposure is as potentially damaging in winter as in summer.

Tip: More than half of America’s 20-Somethings don’t wear sunglasses. That’s quite an opportunity for you and an unmet need for them.

 85%the percent of UV reflected by snow

TICK TOCK. As the sun moves higher in the sky, its rays become more damaging. This is because UV light travels a shorter, more direct distance to reach the Earth. As a result, UV exposure to the eyes is highest between 2 and 4 p.m. By avoiding exposure during peak hours (10-3 standard time or 11-4 daylight savings time), sun exposure can be reduced by up to 60%. Source: AMC Cancer Research Center

SNOW WHITE. No, not the fairy tale. The reflections. Snow does, in fact, reflect up to 85% of UV. While water reflects up to 100%, snow is a close second in terms of danger to unprotected eyes. Reflected UV from both snow and water can double the UV risk to the eyes. Source: World Health Organization

SNOW BALLS. Kids love to play in the snow. The problem? The not-yet-fully-developed eyes of kids under age 10 allow 60% more UV to penetrate the eye than would an older person’s. The skin is a different story, as by age 18, the typical teen has only been faced with one quarter of their likely lifetime exposure to UV. Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation

20-SOMETHINGS. More than half (55%) of young people in their 20’s report they don’t wear sunglasses as opposed to 58% of consumers in their 40s who do wear them. That makes 40-49 year olds the sun-savviest demographic in the U.S. Source: The Vision Council UV Report 2016

ACROPHOBIA. Patients should be afraid of heights, when it comes to UV anyway. Why? Because the intensity of UV radiation increases 3% for every 1,312 feet in altitude. Viewed another way, at 8,000 feet, UV radiation exposure is almost 20% more than at sea level. That’s because at higher elevations, the air is thinner, allowing for more UV radiation in the atmosphere. Source: American Optometric Association and VSP

365.25. That’s how many days it takes the earth to orbit the sun. It’s also the number of days a year your patients should be wearing sunglasses. Help consumers understand the difference between bad sunglasses and good. One difference? Proper sun protection will block 99-100% of UV-A as well as UV-B radiation, and screen between 75-90 percent of visible light. Source: Mayoclinic.org

TAKE THIS. Or maybe not. Many drugs increase the risk of UV exposure. They include diuretics, tetracycline, thiazides, doxycycline, sulfa antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. Source: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Source: www.thevitaminsee.com

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