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June 23, 1989

Protect Eyes From Ultraviolet Light to Prevent Cataract Rather Than Retinal Damage

JAMA. 1989;261(24):3550. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420240064018

To the Editor.—  I read with much interest the informative report by Dr Olson1 on the potential threat of ozone depletion to the eye. The report clearly highlights the problems associated with the selection of sunglasses that adequately protect against ultraviolet (UV) light. Although the report indicates the uncertainties in the relationship between exposure to UV light and retinal disease, including macular degeneration, attention should also be drawn to the recent work2,3 that has quantified the harmful effects exposure to UV-B light has on the crystalline lens. Unlike the unsubstantiated relationship for retinal damage, the association between exposure to UV-B light and cataracts has now been well established and warrants proper attention. For cortical cataract, for example, a doubling of ocular exposure leads to a 60% increase in risk, and those with exposure above the median have more than three times the risk of those with exposure in