I was out and about the day after New Year’s and stopped for a bite to eat. While I was waiting for my sandwich to arrive on that bright and sunny winter afternoon I did one of my favorite things – “people watching”. Along came Freddie and his dog Leo. Leo the dog was sporting a pair of sunglasses but his owner Freddie was not. I had to ask why the dog was wearing sunglasses, was it a fashion statement or something else? Well it turns out that Leo may be getting cataracts so he has to wear sun protection but his owner Freddie, who I guessed to be between 55-60 years old, did not wear any sun protection, no glasses, no hat. I asked him if he was concerned about cataracts himself and he told me he hadn’t thought about him, only his dog…….This little vignette of life is a good example of someone knowing the danger of long term UV exposure but being more concerned about a pet’s eye health than his own eye health. It is a reminder that ECP’s can never under estimate the importance of informing the public about UV exposure and cataract prevention.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the causes of cataracts:
“Cataracts develop from a variety of reasons, including long-term exposure to ultraviolet light, exposure to radiation, secondary effects of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and advanced age, or trauma (possibly much earlier); they are usually a result of denaturation of lens protein. Genetic factors are often a cause of congenital cataracts and positive family history may also play a role in predisposing someone to cataracts at an earlier age, a phenomenon of “anticipation” in pre-senile cataracts. Cataracts may also be produced by eye injury or physical trauma. A study among Icelandair pilots showed commercial airline pilots are three times more likely to develop cataracts than people with non-flying jobs. This is thought to be caused by excessive exposure to radiation coming from outer space. Cataracts are also unusually common in persons exposed to infrared radiation. Exposure to microwave radiation can cause cataracts. Atopic or allergic conditions are also known to quicken the progression of cataracts, especially in children. Cataracts may be partial or complete, stationary or progressive, hard or soft. Some drugs can induce cataract development.”