When 29-year-old Emmy came to see Uwe Canting, OD at Canting Optometry in Cary, NC, she was relatively certain that her eye was fine, but wanted to seek reassurance from her optometrist. Emmy had received a high-impact, full-blown soccer ball to the eye during a soccer match the preceding day and while having no symptoms other than slight discomfort from the bruising, she realized that the impact was severe enough that something unseen may have occurred.
Canting notes that Emmy presented with a black eye OD, while her visual acuity was 20/20. “The eye itself looked fine. Other than the ecchymosis, there were no immediate concerns. There was no apparent subconjunctival hemorrhage and no recession of the iris. But, while dilated, I could see instantly that it was not normal and decided to capture an optomap image. Sure enough, the image clearly showed the whitish sheen of Commotio retinae superiorly temporal.” Canting recalls, “The beauty of this situation was that I had her optomap image from her last visit and I could show her, clearly and tangibly, what had occurred in her eye.”
As summer draws near, most of us long for the glorious warmth of the sun and we dream about, and plan for, the recreation we will enjoy. Unfortunately, while awareness of the importance of sunscreen and UV protective clothing has increased, the impacts of all that fun-in-the-sun on the eyes is still often overlooked. Most people do not realize that 20% of all cataracts are the result of UV ray exposure, and that number has been dramatically increasing in recent years.
But what is this invisible threat exactly? And how does it impact us? Ultraviolet radiation is measured in nanometers (nm). It is categorized in three basic terms and classified by the strength of the UV ray:
UVC: These rays are below 280 nm. The upper atmosphere absorbs these so they do not reach us, therefore protection from these rays is not overly necessary. UVB: These are between 315 – 380 nm. These manage to make it to the earth’s surface and are notorious for damaging sight. They can cause snow blindness, but are notably responsible for sunburn and several types of skin cancer. Research has shown that these rays are strongest during the summer and at …