A Key To Healthy Eyes Is UV Protection In Winter Months

Washington, D.C. – November 8, 2023 – With more than seven percent of the U.S. population impacted by eye cataracts, with the leading cause being a cumulative and irreversible exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, the nonprofit International Window Film Association (IWFA) recommends the professional installation of window film for protection from the winter sun.

Exposure to sunlight over time leads to the formation of cataracts and eventually blindness. The number of Americans impacted is forecasted to double from 24.4 million today, to about 50 million by 2050, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Cataracts occur when the lens that surrounds the eye becomes clouded, resulting in lost or decreased vision. The only treatment for a cataract which may be affecting one’s daily living, is surgery.

Untreated windows protect the eyes from only about 25 percent of damaging UV rays, while professionally installed window film blocks up to 99 percent of UV rays from penetrating through glass, whether installed on a vehicle or a building, according to the IWFA.

“Wearing protective sunglasses helps outdoors, but when indoors window film protects people year-round from the negative impact of UV exposure where sunlight can reach the eyes and skin,” said Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA.

During the winter months a number of factors increase UV exposure to the eyes, including snow, which may reflect as much as 80 percent of UV radiation, as UV rays are deflected from its surface and into the eyes. Also, deciduous trees shed their leaves and offer little shade to reduce UV rays, and even clouds do not block UV light. In winter, the sun is even lower in the sky, and its UV rays travel more directly to the eyes and skin. Finally, in colder climates people may choose to be near a sunny window, and this leads to further UV exposure.