Australians and New Zealanders love nothing more than to get outdoors, whether for work or leisure. While we’re pretty good at throwing on a hat and slapping on some sunscreen, many overlook the need to protect the eyes.
Optometrists need to remind all patients, from the youngest to the oldest, of the need to wear eyewear with high quality UV protection when outdoors, throughout the day and through all seasons.
Our fixation on the global coronavirus pandemic over the past year has caused many to ‘take their eyes off the ball’ when it comes to maintaining eye health. Cataract surgery and management of macular degeneration have been disrupted, routine contact lens check-ups and annual eye exams delayed, and so on.
One constant though, has been the presence of UV radiation, along with the related risks of melanoma, macular degeneration, cataract, photokeratitis, neoplasia, pingueculae, pterygia and premature ageing of the skin.
Sunglasses and fashion spectacles must be classified and clearly labelled according to one of five categories
Changed working conditions and home schooling meant that UV exposure potentially increased as people worked from home, sometimes outdoors on a garden table. Even La Nina conditions, which have delivered wet and cloudy weather for many, have not necessarily reduced or prevented exposure to UV radiation.
WHAT, WHY AND HOW?
The UV spectrum is broken up into three convenient sub-spectra;
- UVA: 315–400 nanometres (nm),
- UVB: 280–315 nm, and
- UVC: 100–280 nm. UVA is the least damaging and UVC the most.
Fortunately, in Australia and New Zealand, as of July 2019, all sunglasses and fashion spectacles, including uniformly tinted, polarising, photochromic and gradient tinted lenses sold in the ANZ region, must be tested and labelled according to the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles (AS/ NZS 1067:2016 eye and face protection: sunglasses and fashion spectacles).1
The Standard sets limits for the allowable light and UV transmittance of sunglasses and fashion spectacles in both adults’ and children’s sizes. Essentially, all sunglasses must protect users by blocking UV within the range of 280 to 400 nm,2 which equates to all UVA and UVB.
Sunglasses and fashion spectacles must be classified and clearly labelled according to one of five categories, depending on their capacity to perform in certain conditions, as shown in Table 1.2
Although UVC is the most damaging, we are fortunate that most of it is blocked from entering Earth’s atmosphere by the ozone layer. That’s why it became so important to stop the ozone depletion we’ve focussed on these past decades. The good news is that the ozone protection measures have been quite effective and we are due to achieve normal ozone levels by 2050.
For most of us, the provision of AS/ NZS 1067 compliant sunglasses is not an issue. Where we need to be more attentive is in the provision of customised or prescription sunglasses, where we need to be confident that the supplying laboratory or manufacturer meets the standard.
UNTINTED SPECTACLES AND CONTACT LENSES
Ideally, it’s not just sunglasses that should block UV. Untinted spectacles and contact lenses (CLs) that are also worn outdoors should maximise UV protection too.
However these products are not all equal.
While today’s widely prescribed non-tinted plastic spectacle lenses provide relatively high levels of UV absorption compared to the glass spectacle lenses of old, it is worth specifying additional UV400 blocking filters in order to maximise protection.
Additionally, most general spectacle frames still allow UV to strike the eye and adnexae from the sides, above and below, where spectacle frames leave gaps. This leads to the potentially harmful peripheral light focussing effect. Hence the focus on wraparound sunglasses, side shields and so on.
Although there is currently no enforced standard or legislation governing UV protection in CLs, there is a wide range of UV absorbing capability available, as seen in Table 2.
Some CLs are less effective at blocking UV. Indeed, certain brands are cured by UV during manufacture, which precludes the inclusion of any UV blockers. That said, all CL manufacturers, regardless of the UV protection their products offer, stipulate that sunglasses should still be worn. Even for high-level UV blocking CLs, the rest of the eye and adnexae remain exposed to UV.
DON’T NEGLECT, PROTECT
Every photon of UV is high energy radiation and has the potential to do harm, in the worst cases damaging DNA. For this reason, the more UV we can block, the better – especially given the outdoor lifestyles that most of us enjoy. We know the risks and there’s plenty of communication that says we should slip, slop, slap and wrap3 – yet for some reason, people need to be continuously reminded about the protective features of well designed frames and UV blocking lenses.
To find out more about spectacle and contact lenses that protect against damaging UV, take a look at what some of our suppliers have on offer.
- www.arpansa.gov.au/understanding-radiation/radiationsources/ more-radiation-sources/sun-protection-sunglasses
- www.productsafety.gov.au/standards/sunglassesfashion- spectacles
UV Protective Spectacle Lenses
Rodenstock ColorMatic X-tra Fast
Rodenstock ColorMatic X-tra Fast, with any of the Solitaire family of coatings, provides maximum UV and glare protection.
While all ColorMatic materials reduce the transmission of UV light, Rodenstock’s ColorMatic X-tra Fast provides customers with UV protection along with a choice of clear to 85% absorption tints in pure grey, racing green and chocolate brown.
When improved contrast is required, consider ColorMatic IQ Sun Contrast, available in three colours, starting with a 50% tint, which react to 90% absorption. For a flexible sunglass option, choose ColorMatic IQ Sun Fashion, again starting with a 50% tint and reacting to 90% absorption.
Dispensing with any of the Solitaire Protect 2 family of coatings will also stop dangerous UV reflecting from the back of the lens. Choose Solitaire Protect Plus 2 with X-tra Clean for spectacles. For sunglasses, choose Solitaire Protect Sun 2 with X-tra Clean.
Contact: Rodenstock Account Manager
Shamir Glacier Plus UV
The Shamir Glacier Plus UV coating range provides UV protection from incoming and reflected light for both front and back lens surfaces, which helps to avoid the risk of damage to the cornea and retina.
The range comprises:
Glacier Plus UV – For a durable, comfortable, anti-static and hydrophobic multi-coated lens,
Glacier Achromatic UV – All the benefits of Shamir Glacier Plus UV with the addition of improved anti-reflection for superior, bloom-free lenses,
Glacier Blue-Shield UV – Protects the eyes from harmful, high energy rays known as blue light, and offers comprehensive UV protection, and
Glacier Sun UV – Designed for sunwear to accommodate a wide range of fashion preferences, lifestyles, and activities.
Shamir Australia also offers Shamir Blue Zero which has built-in protection from blue light and provides 100% protection from UV400.
Contact: Shamir Account Manager
SunSync Light-Reactive Lenses
SunSync Light-Reactive lenses provide everything needed in a base lens, with dark outdoor colour, exceptional indoor clarity, fast reaction times, and excellent temperature stability. Additionally, these lenses offer 100% UV protection and targeted blue light filtration to protect eye health. Exceptionally durable, they come with a one-year, 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Available in grey and brown with single vision, Unity Relieve, Unity Via Progressive, Orion Progressive and Unity Via OfficePro lenses.
Contact: VSP Optics 1800 251 025
No UV solution can claim to be complete if it does not address both direct and indirect UV radiation sources all the way to 400 nm.
Zeiss UVProtect lenses with UV Protect block direct UV light from the front up to 400 nm. A specifically optimised anti-reflective coating applied to the back of the lens reduces the indirect UV light reflecting from the back surface. Zeiss UVProtect lenses with UV Protect also protect the eyelids and skin surrounding the eyes, which are especially sensitive to longer UV rays. Zeiss UVProtect clear lenses offer the same UV protection as premium sunglasses.
Contact: Zeiss Account Manager
Transitions Signature GEN 8
After five years of research and development, Transitions Signature GEN 8 is a new frontier in photochromic performance and a step change on Transitions Signature VII.
Transitions Signature GEN 8 will meet your patients’ needs for comfort, protection and most importantly, style.
Transitions Signature GEN 8 is 30% faster to activate than Transitions Signature VII; three minutes faster to fade back to clear than Transitions Signature VII; even darker than Transitions Signature VII; fully clear indoors; blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays; filters 20% of blue light indoors and up to 87% blue light outdoors.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager
Crizal Sapphire UV
Essilor’s Crizal Sapphire UV is the first anti-reflection coating designed to reduce reflections from all angles on the front and back of the lens that are caused by natural and artificial light.
The multi-angular technology reduces reflections for all incident angles of light falling on the lens from the front, back and sides. The anti-reflection coating, which accounts for light at up to a 45° angle of gaze, provides patients with clearer lenses from all angles. Side-on reflections are reduced by 30% and front on by 20%, allowing enhanced visual comfort for the wearer.
Crizal Sapphire UV is E-SPF 35* for optimal UV protection and is endorsed by Cancer Council Australia.
Crizal Sapphire UV is available with Smart Blue Filter in grind lenses for ultimate protection from UV and blue light filtering.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager
* E-SPF indicates how much more protection a lens gives against UV compared to no lens at all i.e. Crizal Sapphire UV offers 35 times more protection than no lens at all, except index 1.5 index which offers ESPF 10.
Neva Max Blue UV
OSA’s Neva Max Blue UV offers wearers an E-SPF rating of 35*, the top level of back surface UV protection. Additionally, it offers high level blue light filtering while maintaining a pale blue bloom. Research results show that this coating improves contrast by reflecting and cutting blue light by 18% (400–500 nm), which may help to reduce eye strain.
OSA’s Neva Max Blue UV multicoat outperforms standard coatings in abrasion, smudge and delamination resistance. The complete Neva coatings range now includes an anti-static coating, which means lenses attract up to seven times less dust than their non-anti-static counterparts. As a result, Neva lenses take less time to clean and stay clean and scratch-free for longer.
Contact: OSA Account Manager
*E-SPF indicates how much more protection a lens gives against UV compared to no lens at all i.e. Neva Max Blue UV offers 35 times more protection than no lens at all, except index 1.5 index which offers ESPF 10.
Transitions XTRActive Lenses
Transitions XTRActive lenses are uniquely designed to protect eyes from the brightest lights, whether outdoors, indoors or in the car – indeed, this is the first lens with a light-activated tint that works behind the windshield of the car.
Transitions XTRActive lenses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays and help filter blue light. When indoors, this lens has a comfortable light tint to shield eyes from strain caused by harsh indoor lighting. When outdoors, it darkens into a tint that matches the light conditions.
Available in three colours; grey, brown and graphite green. For your style conscious patients, offer Transitions XTRActive Style Mirrors, which have a fashionable mirror effect and adapt to light conditions.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager
Nikon’s SeeCoat and ECC Coatings Range
Nikon’s premium coating range, the SeeCoat Series, includes SeeCoat Plus UV, SeeCoat Blue UV and SeeSun UV. All of these offer the wearer increased resistance to scratches, smudges, oil and dust. When combined with a Nikon 1.6 index or greater, the result is e-SPF 25* (e-SPF 50* for SeeSun UV). SeeCoat Blue UV also increases contrast by adding a blue light filter. The Nikon SeeCoat coating range is available across all grind SV, eLife and progressive lens products in all indices and the stock AS and DAS range.
Nikon’s ECC range now has the benefit of UV protection with e-SPF 25*. With the 2020 launch of ECC Blue UV, Nikon now has a blue light filter option in the ECC range coupled with scratch, smudge and oil resistance on 1.5 and 1.6 index lenses.
Contact: Nikon Account Manager
*Except for 1.5 index which has an e-SPF 10.
Xperio Polarised Lenses
Essilor Sun Solutions help enhance and protect your patients while under the sun. The Essilor Sun Range goes beyond glare and UV protection to allow patients to see with more depth and better colour distinction.
Xperio Polarised lenses are ideal for driving because they improve visual acuity and reaction time, give better colour perception, and enhance contrast sensitivity by 75%.
Whether your patients want prescription sunglasses for sport, driving or fashion, Xperio Polarised lenses eliminate harsh and bothersome glare and provide visual comfort and performance for bright light environments.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager
Hoya Diamond Finish UV Control
Hoya UV Control is a unique coating applied to the back surface of the lenses that blocks the reflection of harmful UV into the eyes. Together with Hoya’s UV resistant lens materials, UV Control offers lenses that are as clear as crystal yet still offer 100% protection against the harmful effects of UV and UV related eye diseases.
UV Control is available in combination with Diamond Finish multi-coat – one of the hardest anti-reflection coatings available on the market today. Its long-lasting antireflective, scratch resistant, water, dirt and dust repellent properties provide spectacle lens wearers with extra comfort and relaxed, clear vision.
Contact: Hoya Account Manager
JP Optical 21 Ray
Based on a unique coating formula, JP Optical 21 Ray blocks up to 99% of UV light, 50% of blue light in the 400nm – 440nm range, and 55% of near infrared red light in the 780nm – 1400nm range.
This unique coating is important because extensive exposure to near infrared red light (780nm – 1400nm) leads to retina burns and depigmentation, as well as iris swelling and hyperaemia/inflammation.
The 21 Ray coating improves on regular blue light coatings by reducing reflections while resisting smudges and scratches, and repelling water and dust.
Contact: JP Optical (AUS) 0414 585 487
UV Protective Contact Lenses
Bausch & Lomb Ultra Oneday
Bausch & Lomb Ultra Oneday silicone hydrogel SVS daily disposable contact lenses offer the most complete system,1-6 combining breakthrough technologies to deliver comfort for a full 16 hours of wear4 and to promote a stable and healthy ocular environment.1 Advanced MoistureSeal Technology delivers the highest moisture retention after 16 hours versus leading SiHy daily disposable lenses,4 while ComfortFeel Technology releases comfort and eye health ingredients designed to help protect, enrich, and stabilise the tear film.1,5 Bausch & Lomb Ultra Oneday contact lenses also provide high oxygen,1 a low modulus1 for a smooth and weightless feel2 and easy handling,2 UV blocking for protection,1,#* high definition optics,3 and a universal fit.2 This combination of technologies and material design provides a complete contact lens-wearing experience designed to match patients’ lifestyles and support ocular health.1,5
Contact: Bausch & Lomb Account Manager
# A class II UV blocker, which provides broad spectrum protection, blocking at least 50% of UVA rays and 95% of UVB rays.1
1-6. Data on file
UV rays causing skin pigmentation such as spots, are said to be one of the causes of eye diseases such as cataracts. SEED 1dayPure extended depth of focus (EDOF) contact lenses* contain UV absorbers that shield wearers’ eyes from ultraviolet rays, protecting them from harmful ultraviolet light and keeping their eyes healthy.
This multifocal soft contact lens has a rapidly changing non-monotonic power profile which is significantly different from older annular designs. It increases ocular depth of focus without significant impact on retinal sensitivity and quality while reducing the impact of inherent ocular aberrations.
Images are perceived to be continuously in focus over a wide range of visual distances.
SEED 1dayPure EDOF has an extensive power range from +5.00 to -12.00D, with three different depths of focus to suit patients’ add requirements.
Contact: SEED (AUS) 1300 373 718
Alcon Precision 1
Alcon’s Precision 1 contact lenses feature Class 1 UV absorption, the highest protection available for contact lenses,1 indicating that they block more than 90% of UVA and 99% of UVB rays.1*
Contact: Alcon Account Manager
- American Optometric Association. UV protection with contact lenses. www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-foryour- vision/uv-protection/uvprotection-with-contact-lenses.
MyDay is the high performance daily disposable contact lens that doesn’t compromise on comfort, health, vision or handling. Powered by Aquaform Technology to deliver exceptional comfort that lasts all day, every day and a UV blocker that supports ocular health*, filtering 85% of UVA and 96% of UVB rays.^
Contact: CooperVision Account Manager
*UV-absorbing contact lenses are not substitutes for protective UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area.