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Fake sunglasses cause irreversible eye injury

04 July 2013 / 22:07:33  GRReporter
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Sunglasses are a must have accessory in Greece during the summer. Their role is essential in protecting your eyes from the bright Mediterranean sun but a disturbing trend has appeared in recent years. Seven out of ten Greeks wear replica sunglasses of the original brand. Experts warn that the problem is not that the Greeks do not buy branded glasses but that the label of those sunglasses that cost five or ten euro is false and therefore, they are hazardous to the eyes.

Fake sunglasses do not absorb ultraviolet rays and can cause irreversible eye damage. Ophthalmologists warn, "It is better not to wear any glasses than to wear glasses without UV filter".

The sharp increase in ultraviolet radiation in recent years due to ozone depletion has a detrimental effect on eyes. Several years ago, cataracts appeared after the age of 70 whereas it affects people at the age 50 today.

Ethnos newspaper warns that wearing sunglasses without UV protection can damage the cornea, cause retinopathy (general non-inflammatory disorder in which the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the retina of the eye are damaged) and even catalyze the formation of cancer of the eyelids.

"Every year, street vendors and unauthorized shops in Greece sell between 1.5 and 2 million sunglasses that have no eye protection. Unfortunately, the state does not effectively apply the laws to combat illegal trade and the result is a large number of Greeks wearing sunglasses that do not absorb ultraviolet rays, which causes irreversible eye damage," Maria Tarasoudi, head of the union of optometrists and opticians in northern Greece, told the edition.

Eyes have their own mechanism for protection from harmful rays, namely that the pupil shrinks when it is sunny, thus preventing ultraviolet rays from penetrating into the eye. When we wear dark, plastic glasses, the pupil does not close automatically and absorbs the destructive ultraviolet rays.

Doctors advise that the protection of eyes from ultraviolet rays should start after the first year of the child. They recommend that people avoid sun exposure between nine in the morning and four in the afternoon. If this is impossible, they need to wear sunglasses with UV filter as well as to put on a visor or felt hat. "Those who wear glasses because they have refractive defects (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) can use contact lenses with UV protection. If they cannot or do not want to wear lenses, the spectacle glass must have a special filter. Absorbing spectacles may not be dark, they may be colourless. Tinted glasses just protect the eyes from the brightness of the sun", emphasizes Pantelis Zografos, vice-president of the union.

Experts advise that we should try the sunglasses not only in the looking-glass when buying them but also in the sun. They should not be too dark. They should not impede your vision when you are wearing them. The lenses (organic or glass) must completely absorb ultraviolet rays, the material must be optically processed and not deformed, and they must have a certain thickness and durability. The materials used for the frames should not cause skin irritations or allergies.

All glasses and contact lenses can be equipped with UV filters. They do not affect the quality of vision nor do they affect the price. The frame should cover the entire area around the eye to protect it better. Dark lenses are not recommended for children in order to avoid photophobia in the future. The most suitable shades for sunglass lenses are green, grey and brown. Doctors warn that the UV protection of sunglasses weakens after two to three years.

Tags: SocietyUltraviolet raysUVFake sunglasses
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