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Mulqueeny Eye Centers

Know Your ABC's About UV Protection - June is UV Protection Month!


Why is UV Protection Important? 

The most important thing to consider when choosing proper sun wear is the UV blocking properties.  Short wavelength ultraviolet light can cause or exacerbate a myriad of ocular conditions.  Everything from cataracts to macular degeneration to cancers on the eyelids can be caused or worsened by UV light. 

Think about how your eyes react when you are out in the bright sunlight.  Without sunglasses on, your pupil naturally constricts in response to bright sunlight in an attempt to naturally protect yourself from harmful UV rays.    If you are simply wearing sunglasses with darkened lenses and insufficient UV filter, your pupils will dilate behind the darkened lenses and actually allow MORE harmful rays than if you weren’t wearing sunglasses at all!


The ABC's of UV Protection

UV rays are divided into three groups based on wavelength, UVA, UVB and UVC.  What's the difference?

UVA rays account for most of the sun's natural light.  It penetrates deep into the skin causing increased wrinkling and aging.  It can also penetrate into the cornea and has been linked to an increased risk of cataract and macular degeneration.

UVB rays are more harmful than UVA - almost a 1000 times stronger than UVA - and are also absorbed by the cornea.  These rays are what stimulate melanin production that leads to suntan and an increased risk of skin cancer.  These rays also lead to ocular surface conditions like pterygia and pingueculae.  

UVC light is the shortest wavelength, and the most potentially harmful.  Fortunately, this type of radiation is almost entirely absorbed by earth's atmosphere. 

Purchasing sun lenses that offer 100% UV protection will protect the eye and surrounding skin from all three forms of UV light.

It is also important to remember that you can be exposed to UV radiation even when out of direct sunlight. UV rays can travel through clouds, fog and haze and reflective surfaces like water, snow and glass can increase the strength of the UV rays and indirectly expose your eyes to UV damage.


Other Options to Consider

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are becoming very popular with people looking for maximum visual comfort in a sun lens.  The polarizing filters block glare from light that is reflected off surfaces such as water or the car in front of you.  While these make everyday activities more comfortable for anyone, polarized lenses are especially popular with the outdoor enthusiasts.  Everyone from fishermen to cyclists is experiencing the superior vision of polarized lenses. 

Lens Color

Lens color can be varied based on the specific needs of an individual.  Standard gray lenses offer the least light transmission and retain the truest color.  Brown lenses can make colors bolder and enhance contrast.  Your eye care provider can discuss which color is best for you based on your needs and hobbies.  

Tagged In: Mulqueeny Eye Centers St Louis Mo, Sean P Mulqueeny Od St Louis Mo, Andrew J Biondo Od St Louis Mo, Cataracts St Louis Mo, Macular Degeneration St Louis Mo

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Dr Mulqueeny is friendly yet very professional. He cares about his patients and will take the time to talk and answer any questions. I would tell anyone to go see him.

-Kathy Rhodes
St. Louis, MO