Hot Topic: UV… What’s New?

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It’s about as hot a topic as there is in optical.

With so much attention focused on the dangers of UV, it’s challenging to keep up with the latest research and newest findings about its impact.

To help, we present four compelling UV factoids — a mix of recent research, eye-safety suggestions for the road, plus how experts are addressing upcoming events like back to school and the August 21 solar eclipse. All make great patient education conversation starters.

1. DRIVING

Just the facts:

The view may be great, but the level of UV-A light shining through most cars’ side windows isn’t so good. According to Brian Boxer, MD, a study of automobiles, model years 1990 to 2014, found: ‘The average percentage of front-windshield UV-A blockage was 96%, but only 71% from side windows. These results may in part explain the reported increased rates of cataract in left eyes and left-sided facial skin cancer.’

Suggestion:

Stress wraparounds or sunglasses with side shields.

2. EARLY SIGNS

Just the facts:

A study appearing in the American Journal of Ophthalmology and co-authored by Dr. Shanel Sharma at the University of Sydney recently found that 29% of children aged nine to 11 already have eye damage from the sun. The figure increases in ages 12 to 15, where four in five teenagers (81%) showed signs of eye damage.

Suggestion:

Share this with families and other doctors. Underscore the importance of high-quality sunwear.

3. SOLAR ECLIPSE

Just the facts:

On Monday, August 21, a solar eclipse will be visible across the U.S. According to the American Astronomical Society, ‘The only safe way to look directly at an uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun, however. To date four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.’

Suggestion:

Post an infographic like this one in your office and on your website and Facebook page —

Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Guide — INFOGRAPHIC

4. BACK TO SCHOOL

Just the facts:

Take a tip from Down Under, where The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has urged parents to implement a ‘no hat, no sunglasses, no play’ policy. All sunglasses sold there are tested and labeled from Category Zero (fashion spectacles) up to Category Four (special-purpose sunglasses).

Suggestion:

Share this with your local press. It’s an important message to show how far we have to go in protecting young eyes.

Do you talk to patients about the dangers of UV? If so, please share below and join in the conversation.

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