|Prof Barbara Pierscionek
Professor of Optometry and Vision Science
University of Ulster
BSc (optom), PhD (biochemistry optics of the eye), MBA, PGDiP (law), PGDiP (legal practice), LLM
EYE LOVE IT!
Summer's fun but watch the sun!
What is the first thing you think about when someone says summer holidays? Sun, sea, a break from school and the chance to get a decent sun tan. Maybe your parents nag you about remembering to put on sun cream. If not, they should do. But how many teenagers bother about protecting their eyes with sunglasses and how many parents remind them to do so? The answer is not enough because by wearing sunglasses now, you could be preserving your eyesight in later life.
What's going on?
Inside the eye is a lens that helps to focus light so that your eyes can see properly. In young people the lens is transparent so there are no problems with seeing clearly. As we get older the lens can start to become less and less clear until vision is so bad that it is like looking out of a very dirty window. This is called cataract. The interesting thing is that although everyone gets old, not everyone develops cataracts.
What causes cataract?
Cataract forms slowly over many years and makes your vision worse and worse.
Many studies have looked into what could be causing cataract in some people but not in others and it is becoming clear that out of the many possible causes, sunlight is potentially one of the more serious and dangerous. Just because the effects do not start to show until you are a bit older, does not mean that the process of damage has not begun. In fact it can begin quite early in life if eyes are exposed to too much sunlight in childhood and teenage years. That does not mean that you have to stay indoors throughout summer. It simply means that whenever you are out on a sunny day you should protect your eyes with sunglasses.
Sunglasses are cool!
Sunglasses have always been in fashion. Look at all the celebrities, footballers, film stars and models who wear them. But what if you already wear glasses? You would have to have sunglasses especially made with your prescription and this could be very expensive. It also means carrying two pairs of glasses, one for the sun and one for indoors. Clip-on sun shields are the cheaper, single glasses option but so far they have only come in standard boring shapes - not made to fit the latest stylish specs. Not anymore. EYEDEAS have come up with trendy slip-on sunglasses for the teen market. They make a range of slip-ons with a touch of glamour that can be changed to match your mood and outfit.
Now you can look cool and glamorous and be saving your eyes from cataract.