Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is always there. All year round, all day, whether it's winter or summer, in sunny conditions or even on cloudy days when UV exposure can reach 70-75% at ground level. UV radiation actually has several beneficial effects for us including vitamin D production via skin exposure. It also stimulates the production of melanin, your body's own protection against sunburn that causes a tanned complexion.
However, if your unprotected skin is exposed to UV radiation for a prolonged period, it can cause damage such as photo ageing, wrinkles, and in severe cases, skin cancer.
Photograph taken with a normal camera.
Photograph taken with a UV camera, showing skin damage due to UV exposure.
To protect the skin, we wear sunscreen, but we really don't have a lot of options when it comes to protecting our eyes against harmful UV rays. It is often forgotten that UV rays are also harmful to our long-term eye health and that it can cause damage to the area around the eyes. Unfortunately, only 1 out of 5 lenses fully block UV radiation up to 400 nm. That means the other 4 out of the 5 lenses don't block or only marginally block UV radiation. As a result, UV rays are transmitted through the lens and can potentially harm both your eyes and skin.
This lack in protection can lead to harmful eye diseases and accelerated ageing of the tissue surrounding the eyes such as:
Clouding of the eye's crystalline lens, often as a result of excessive UV exposure. Starting out with reduced contrast in sensitivity and loss of visual acuity, it eventually results in its final stage in blindness. This can only be fixed by surgery and lens replacement.2 According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) roughly 20% of all cataracts are caused or worsened by UV radiation.3
UV protection is recommended against harmful UV rays up to 400 nm. That's why ZEISS is creating a new standard of care by including full UV protection in all clear ZEISS plastic lenses starting this year.
The UV camera shows what that means: clear ZEISS lenses with UVProtect Technology appear as dark as sunglasses because UV rays are completely blocked by the lens.
The UVProtect Technology is moving beyond accepted standards to a higher level of UV protection, which enables clear ZEISS lenses to block harmful UV rays up to 400 nm. This is the same standard of UV protection premium sunglasses provide.