According to experts, this includes eye health. In fact, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness reports that the human eye is susceptible to even the most minor changes in environmental factors. This includes air pollution, high temperatures, low rainfall, and many others.
Fortunately, eyewear companies have shown a commitment to protecting and promoting eye health in the face of these challenges. Through innovative technologies, sustainable practices, and widespread education, they are taking significant strides to minimise the impact that climate change has on eye health.
How climate change is affecting eye health
Climate change can directly and indirectly affect eye health in multiple ways. One of the most significant direct impacts is through increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Prolonged exposure to these harmful rays increases the risk of developing eye diseases like macular degeneration.
Furthermore, climate change causes a shift in the distribution of allergens. Rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns create favourable conditions for the growth of allergenic plants, leading to the increase of irritants like pollen and mould spores. This can result in irritations, dryness, and inflammation in the eyes.
Aside from these more direct impacts, climate change also indirectly affects eye health through the intensification and frequency of extreme weather events. Storms, wildfires, and dust storms can generate air pollution that includes particulate matter and harmful chemicals which can irritate the eyes.
How the eyewear industry is responding
In a world facing complex climatic challenges, companies serve as catalysts for positive change. By committing to practices that ensure they’re going green, companies can help with fortifying eye health. Additionally, they can also raise awareness regarding the impact that climate change can have on our eyes.
Developing protective eyewear features
One of the most prominent ways that eyewear companies are responding to climate change is by developing advanced lens technologies. UV radiation is highly impacted by global climate change, with the decreasing stratospheric ozone allowing more harmful light onto the surface of the earth. Companies like Glasses Direct now offer sunglasses with various features capable of providing sufficient protection. These include enhanced UVA and UVB protection, polarised lenses that minimise glare, and special lens coatings to block out blue light. In addition, these lenses can be upgraded to prescription lenses for those who require vision correction, with various lens options ranging from single vision to bifocals to varifocals. Not only do eyewear companies adapt their products to address changing conditions, but they also remain inclusive to various eye-related needs. In this way, they actively contribute to maintaining optimal eye health in an ever-evolving climate.
Promoting sustainable practices
Human activities like the production and disposal of goods are some of the biggest drivers behind climate change. Eyewear companies are taking responsibility by adopting sustainable practices throughout their supply chains, from manufacturing to packaging and materials sourcing. For example, Peep Eyewear offers eco-friendly products that people now know as recycled eyeglasses or eco-friendly eyeglasses. These models use materials such as upcycled plastics, bamboo, or biodegradable acetate for frames. On top of this, they also encourage people to donate their old eyeglasses to be upcycled and restored into brand-new products for others to use. By transitioning to these materials and practices, companies greatly reduce their carbon footprint and minimise environmental degradation.
Raising awareness regarding eye care
Besides safeguarding eye health through product innovation, eyewear companies are also actively spreading awareness regarding the importance of eye care. Companies regularly collaborate with non-profit organisations and charitable foundations to provide free eyewear, vision screenings, and eye care services in regions adversely affected by climate change. Similarly, some companies, such as Vision Express, choose to create campaign materials and advertisements that aim to educate regarding eye health. One of their most recent video campaigns features an animation showcasing the benefits of having an eye test.
Through the continued commitment of eyewear companies, people are able to better face the challenges that come with climate change and have a clearer and healthier vision of the future.