Sunday, November 26, 2006



The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which measures UV radiation across 50 global cities, has given India another cause for concern. Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore receive very high amounts of UV radiation. An average Mumbaikar's potential exposure to ultraviolet radiation is as much as a person in Antarctica, which is also in the extreme bracket, where a gaping hole in the ozone layer lets in UV rays unhindered.
If you are someone whose work demands spending most part of the day under the scorching heat of the sun? Or are an outdoor sportsperson who prefers to sweat it out rather than languish inside - then your eyes are being exposed to harmful ultra violet (UV) rays emitted from the sun.These UV rays have the potential to severely hamper your vision.They are becoming an important factor in eye problems such as cataract, retinal degeneration and medical conditions such as pterygium (growth of tissue in the front covering of the eye).
Composed of invisible, highenergy, light rays from the sun the UV radiation is classified into three components: UV-C, UV-B, and UV-A. UV-B radiation, on the other hand, has the highest energy and has been found to be the more damaging light, particularly to the crystalline lens of the eye. Studies have implicated UVB radiation as a causal factor for cataracts (a gradual clouding of the lens of the eye) and other ocular disorders, including cancer of the skin around the eye (pterygium), degenerative corneal changes, and age-related macular degeneration. UV-B rays are the ones that burn the skin and can damage the eyes.
Contact lenses with UV protection can ease UV radiation and thus reduce probabilities of ocular diseases. According to the report released by Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, Inc in 2003, UV blocking soft contact lenses are highly recommended to reduce the development of sun-related ocular pathologic conditions.
Prolonged exposure of eyes to the sun rays is the key risk factor associated with formation of ocular diseases.This is even more critical at places near the equator and those located on higher altitudes as the UV rays are much more intense here. Exposure to UV rays kill outer surface of cells in the eye.These dead cells reduce the flexibility and transparency of the eye.Thus, a white layer (opaque layer) is formed on the surface of lens leading to cataract. Cataract formation can be delayed with use of contact lenses with UV protection that blocks the surface of the eye thereby curbing the opacity of the eye.
Harmful as they are, UV rays are even more intense during the hot summer months. People indulge in lot of travel, sports and outdoor activities during summer. Many people don't even realise that the sun they are enjoying could cause severe eye problems. UV-blocking contact lenses offer a comfortable and affordable way to limit possible damage to the eyes.
When used in combination with UV-blocking sunglasses, the UV-absorbing polymer that exists in the formulation process of some contact lens materials offers excellent protection when out on the water, in the field, on the tennis court or on the golf course.
American Optometry Association (AOA) recommends the combined usage of sunglasses and UV blocking contact lenses to get maximum protection from UV rays that reach the cornea and get into the eye.These lenses filter as much as 90 percent of the UV rays and cover the entire pupil thereby preventing light from striking the eyes from the sides So, owning the right pair of contact lenses and sunglasses glasses is good investment that helps in protecting your eyes and vision for years to come.

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