OPTOMETRY & EYEWEAR with Melissa Hay, Visique Milford
Our monthly OPTOMETRY & EYEWEAR column is provided by Melissa Hay, the owner of Visique Milford Optometrists. Melissa studied optometry for five years at the Auckland University School of Medicine and completed a Bachelor of Optometry (with Honours). Her qualifications also allow her to test the eyesight of pilots (CCA Accred.) and to write prescriptions (Oc.Cert.Pharm.).
Sunglasses & Eyesight
Summer is now in full swing…and we all know that we need to protect our skin and our eyes in the sun. There is plenty of information out there explaining the harshness of New Zealand light – and your best way to protect your eyes from the sun is sunglasses. But what happens to your eyes if you don’t wear them?
The recent Beaver Dam Eye Study has proven that UV light causes cataracts to grow. Cataracts are a generalised blurring to your vision, that is only correctable with eye surgery.
Another common damage on the eye surface from UV light is a pterygium. This is a red area of tissue on your eye just close to your nose. These are very common in New Zealand due to our poorer ozone layer – but also our outdoor lifestyle. Whilst this is not a sinister change on your eye – it doesn’t look appealing!
And, just like sunburn on your skin – you can get sunburn on your eyes, called photokeratitis. Which, believe me, is really uncomfortable and can take days to heal.
There are four components to the lenses in sunglasses – there is the tint – which can be any colour, or any darkness depending on your personal preference. You can also get polarised lenses, which give you extra glare protection from reflections and especially useful if you ski or spend time doing water sports. There is also the power of the lens – which can help some of us see better. And lastly, there is the all important UV protection, to prevent any damage to your eyes.
Those who know me, know I’m biased about eyesight – to me its our most precious sense. The simple task of putting on a pair of sunglasses outside protects our eyes against the harmful ultraviolet(UV) rays! People of all ages should wear sunglasses, from young kids to older adults. You can bring your sunglasses into us and we can check that they give you full UV protection.