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The windows to the soul

It’s sunny and hot and most people are busy protecting their skin from the sun. Few, however, realise that ultraviolet (UV) rays cause as much damage to the health of the eyes. Dr Mahipal S Sachdev writes.

health and fitness Updated: May 29, 2011 00:09 IST
Dr Mahipal S Sachdev
Dr Mahipal S Sachdev
Hindustan Times
Dr Mahipal S Sachdev

It’s sunny and hot and most people are busy protecting their skin from the sun. Few, however, realise that ultraviolet (UV) rays cause as much damage to the health of the eyes. That apart, UV also causes cosmetic damage to the skin around eyes – known as “photo ageing” – which causes dryness, sagging or loss of elasticity, and mottled pigmentation.

The eye, in fact, is at a greater risk from the sun than the skin because UV radiation cause various ocular disorders, including age-related cataract, pterygium and photokeratitis.

The other problem is dust and pollen, which cause eye allergies that cause itching and redness. The problem of dry eyes also worsens in hot weather as both high temperature and air-conditioning cause the tear film evaporates faster.

Choosing sunglasses

Invest in quality eyewear that blocks 100% UV radiation. People who wear prescription glasses should use photochromatic lenses (variable tint) that adjust to the level of UV light they are exposed to, going from exceptionally clear indoors to sunglass dark outdoors. While most prescription lenses offer some UV ray protection, not all are equally effective.

(Dr Mahipal S Sachdev is chairman and medical director, Centre for Sight group of eye hospitals)

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