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You may be aware of the dangers of UV exposure to your skin, but are you aware that your eyes are vulnerable to UV damage anytime of the day, anytime of the year?

Almost 60 per cent of Australians believe it is only the midday sun that poses the greatest UV threat but this not the case. UV exposure to the eye before 10am and after 2pm may be higher than during the middle of the day on some days due to the angle of the sun in relation to the eye.

It is important that make sure your eyes are protected all year round, as UV exposure can peak at times when ordinarily you may not be wearing UV protective lenses and may believe you are not exposed such as during winter. It is not only the direct sun on a fine, clear cloudless day in summer that can cause damage. Research has shown that a greater proportion of ultraviolet rays can reach the eye from scattered sunlight from clouds and light reflected from the ground and off water.

Even small amounts of exposure to the suns UV rays can lead to eye irritation and increased light sensitivity. All UV eye exposure, regardless of how short, adds up in the long term. Accumulated UV exposure to your eyes can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and skin cancer of the eyelids and around the eyes?

UV radiation levels are three times higher during summer than in winter. Higher levels of UV are also experienced at high altitudes such as at ski fields and when light is reflected off a surface such as water or snow.

It is important to wear suitable UV protective lenses all the time and have your eyes tested regularly or as advised by your Optometrist.

Adding a UV protective coating to your prescription lenses and having polarised sunglasses can both significantly reduce the effect UV exposure has on your eyes and overall health.  

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