Eyes need to be protected from UV rays

40 percent of UV damage occurs in kids before 18


MIAMI, Fla. – It comes with living in Florida: a lot of days with intense, ultraviolet radiation, which affects people in more ways than many considered.

Sheila Danzig discovered she was developing cataracts on her eyes because of UV damage.

"I think all women think about in terms of their skin in terms of aging, most people think about it in terms of skin cancer, but it kind of slipped by my radar screen," she said.

"There's nothing good about UV radiation for the eyes, nothing good," said Dr. Robert Davis, Danzig's optometrist.

UV rays penetrate the cornea and damage the internal structures of the eye, leading to problems that can be both painful and permanent. Unlike our skin, there's no safe time of the day to be outdoors.

"Even when it's cloudy, we still get 90 percent of UV radiation," said Davis.

David Cerat may need surgery to remove abnormal eye growths brought on by sun exposure.

"Once it starts affecting my eye vision, then I'll have to go and do the surgery," Cerat said.

Sunglasses are a must at any time you're outdoors, even when you're driving your car, doctors say. Even then, 45 percent of the sun's rays can get through your shades.

For a greater layer of protection, contacts like Acuvue Oasys Lens can block out 90 percent of the sun's rays.

"The big problem is that 40 percent of UV damage occurs in kids before the age of 18," said Davis. "Many of them are not wearing sunglasses or hats and it's cumulative so we like to put contact lenses on people as young as 8-years-old to help protect them against UV radiation."

Danzig has since added the protective contacts to her eye wear armament, doing everything she can to protect herself from further damage.  

Children are at greatest risk because their pupils are dilated, allowing for more sun exposure. When it comes to picking out protective eyewear, be sure to look for sunglasses that offer full UVB and UVA sun protection.