21 December 2010

Comrades runner? Protect your eyes

“Sport has entered a modern and scientific era where visual performance should be a vital dimension of training programmes.” In a sport, consider the protection of your eyes.


“Sport has entered a modern and scientific era where visual performance should be a vital dimension of training programmes.”

Protection of the eyes

Unfortunately, many sports participants still think that safety precautions are only necessary in extreme or contact sports. In a sport like distance running one of the most important aspects to consider is the protection of the eyes.

Frame styles

Current frames are more durable than ever. Many feature innovative venting systems to eliminate fogging and have interchangeable lenses to suit various conditions. Also they have innovative features such as adjustable cables, thermogrip nose pads and temples to ensure snugger, no-slip fit. Polycarbonate lenses continue to be strong sellers due to their shatterproof properties. They are also more fog-resistant than glass or plastic lenses.

Lens tints

The current array of light-filtering lens tints guarantees the wearer more comfort by delivering an increased amount of contrast. This allows the eye to see greater definitions between colours and textures. No tint works best in all conditions. 

  • Clear - lets in almost all-available light.
  • Amber / Brown - filters glare and offers good colour contrast.
  • Green - good in all light conditions.
  • Mirrored - reflects light and provides extra protection.
  • Grey - copes with dim light to full sun.
  • Yellow - enhances the light available, used at night.
  • Blue - limit natural light, good for bright conditions.

 Protecting your eyes from UV radiation

You are probably aware of the danger posed by UV radiation to your skin, but you may not realise that exposure to UV radiation can harm your eyes and affect your vision as well. Also protecting the eyes can cut down on glare and resulting eyestrain.

There are three types of UV radiation. One type called UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not present a threat. That’s not true of the other two, namely, UV-A and UV-B. More and more scientific evidence is showing that exposure to both UV-A and UV-B can have adverse short and long-term effects on the eyes and vision.

The effects of UV radiation are cumulative. This means the longer your eyes are exposed to UV radiation, the greater the risk of developing problems. Researchers have not yet specifically determined the type or extent of damage caused by the varying levels of exposure to UV.

However it is recommended that you protect your eyes. If you are participating in outdoor sports or doing any activity in the sun you should take precautions by wearing sunglasses that offer good UV protection.

To provide optimal eye protection, your sunglasses should:

  • Block out 99-100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • Screen out 75-90% of visible light
  • Be perfectly matched in colour and free of distortion
  • Have lenses to suit the conditions

 Sunglasses have two prime functions – 1) to protect from ultraviolet (UV) and visible light toxicity and to 2) protect the eyes from impact injury. For runners protecting your eyes from UV radiation is of utmost importance.

Herewith a UV radiation checklist:

If one or more of the following factors fits you, you could be in a higher risk category for damage to eyes from UV radiation:

  • Do you spend a great deal of time outdoors?
  • Do you spend time mountain climbing or on the beach?
  • Do you use a sunlamp or tanning parlour?
  • Have you had cataract surgery in one or both eyes?

 The principal danger posed by the sun is in the form of ultraviolet radiation (in short UV radiation). UV is a component of solar energy, but it can also be given off by artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds and lasers.

UV Blocking contact lenses

Contact lenses are available with UV blocking benefits. Acuvue UV blocking contact lenses help protect against transmission of harmful UV radiation to the cornea and into the eye.

Read more:
Shade those peepers
Eye care basics
Play safe in the sun

For more information, contact:

Dr Sherylle Calder, Acuvue Sports Vision Centre
Cell: 083 384 0833




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