Guest: Dr. Alina Zeldovich and Dr Shanel Sharma
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Dr Alina Zeldovich is an eye physician and surgeon who specialises in cataract surgery. She also works as a comprehensive ophthalmologist treating a variety of eye diseases. Dr. Zeldovich is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) and appears on its Honour Roll. She is a committee representative of the NSW branch of RANZCO. In this segment, she is joined by Dr. Shanel Sharma, an accomplished researcher and eye surgeon. Dr. Sharma has published over 20 scientific papers in peer-reviewed medical journals. She has been a Conjoint Lecturer at the University of New South Wales since 2003 and a Conjoint Lecturer at the University of Sydney since 2006. She has presented her work locally and internationally, including at the World Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Meeting in Milan.
Segment overview: Exposure to harmful UV causes serious eye damage, which could lead to loss of vision both for adults and young children. The increasing number of young children who shows the first signs of eye damage caused by UV has urged Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) to encourage parents to protect their children’s eyes as they go back to school this year.
Health Professional Radio – Beamers Sunglasses
Henry Acosta: Welcome to Health Professional Radio, I’m Henry Acosta and with us today is Dr. Alina Zeldovich and Shanel Sharma. They are both experienced ophthalmologists. Today we are here to talk about and helps spread awareness on how to protect children’s eyes because they are in danger because of UV rays caused by the sun. They have made their own line of sunglasses called, ‘Beamers’ and it has this new lens called, ‘Optoshield Technology’. As children head back to school, parents are going to be urged to take action in order to protect their children’s eyes. Hi, Dr. Alina and Shanel, thank you for being with us today.
Dr. Alina Zeldovich: Hi there. Hi, thanks for having us.
Dr. Shanel Sharma: Thank you very much for having us.
H: And can you guys give us a quick introduction about who you guys are and what you do?
Z: Sure, Dr. Sharma and I are both ophthalmologists. So we’re medically trained doctors and we’ve specialized to become eye physicians and eye surgeons. And last year we founded Beamers Sunglasses. You know clinical wise, we see and operate on eye diseases cause by UV damage that could have been prevented by wearing properly protective sunglasses. We both run busy practices here in Sydney and having attended and spoken at many international and national conferences. We’ve noticed that UV damage and preventing it has become a major topic just like the awareness in Australia with regard to melanoma. So the evidence is clearly irrefutable and out there that UV damages the eyes and in particular, kids’ eyes are much more susceptible to damage. And Dr. Sharma will tell us a bit about her study.
S: So I was in this area of study where we looked at the eyes of children here in Sydney and Randwick. We looked at the technology that’s used frequently in dermatology to pick up early sun damage in skin. And we were the first person of all to adapt this … We published our study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology and the study was actually done on children here in Sydney, and the results even surprised us. We found that 1 out 3 children age 9-11 have found with UV damage using this technique and between the ages of 12 and 15, 4 out every 5 children in the study had UV damage to their eyes. And 1 out of 3 children already had … growing on their eyes. So it’s really … that UV damage occurs when children are young and when their eyes are much susceptible to the damage because they are least developed defense mechanisms protecting their eyes. We know that there is maximum UV penetration into the eye between the ages 0 and 2 and then it’s slightly left between 3 and 10 and then it slightly … between 11 and 18 … So we really made to think about protecting the eyes about children much for the rest of their lives and teaching them these good preventive habits early because prevention is better than treatment.
Z: And we know that UV damage causes real eye diseases and the diseases that we’re talking about are skin cancers around the eyelids, and the eyelid margin, … which are growth on the surface of the eye, and eyeball, and cataracts, and cataracts are one of the leading cause of blindness in the world. And these treatments of narcotic surgical incision which talking about sunglasses versus invasive surgery. Having this knowledge, we wanted to protect our own kids from future diseases and we looked around for a product that had maximum UV protection and having looked around on the market place. We decided that we wanted to create our own which provided all the features that were necessary and incorporate Optoshield Technology.
H: I see and can you tell us a little bit more about your sunglasses and how you came about with Optoshield Technology?
Z: Yes, sure. So Optoshield Technology is a combination of frame and lens design. So these include UV 400 lenses that satisfy category 3 of the Australian standards. They’re polarized to block reflected light and they have a sort of coating on the back. So that any light that entered into the glasses, instead of bouncing back off the lens into the child’s eye, it’s allowed to pass out. And very importantly, glasses made to be wrapped around in their design because any side lights that enters from the side into the eye is completely unfiltered light, irrespective of have with the lens are. So those features are all incorporate in Optoshield Technology and all Beamers Sunglasses have Optoshield Technology. And all parents can be very comfortable in knowing that when their children are wearing Optoshied Technology, they’re well protected. And so the modest features are what is recommended by eye surgeons and including our own college the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologist that recently put out a statement warning people about ocular UV damage and the importance of wearing sunglasses.
H: How did you guys get into this line of work?
Z: I was just going to say, this is definitely not our natural line of work. Our natural line of work is treating these diseases but we thought that prevention is the best cure. So we kind of sailing to that line of work because we saw that it was a need in the market place for glasses for children which were not just fashion accessories but actually provided maximum protection to the eyes.
H: What are the times that you guys recommend when we should wear shades or sunglasses?
S: So we know from lots of research that UV damage is the same maximally between 12 and 13, and a lot people would say that in the morning is okay. What we know from the eye, the UV light enters the eye directly, it enters from bouncing off surfaces around us and it enters from above. So UV light can damage the eye or is damaging the eye between sunrise and sunset, on a sunny day, on a cloudy day, because UV light scatters on a cloudy day. All year round, so we’re meant to be protecting our children’s eyes and our own eyes, whenever we’re outside.
H: I see and what are the ways that we can keep our eyes healthy?
S: (crosstalk) by protecting them from that UV damage . And the other things that we need to think about with protecting our eyes are things like eating healthy green leafy vegetables, nuts, deep sea oily fish … and all the other things are important too. We’re not saying that you only need to think about UV damage, but UV damage is one of the big area that has kind of have been neglected. We all like always worry and talk about about melanoma and skin cancers, but we need to think about what it’s going to the eye as well.
Z: I think with overall eye protection, it’s important to remember that the eyes patted the whole body and so it’s important to manage diseases such as diabetes and have regular checks and major cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol, to be aware of your family history in particular glaucoma which generally doesn’t called any symptom. And as Shanel said, modify your diet and the supplements as required. But in particular for children, it’s very important the UV protection that we’ve already been discussed, with Beamers and Optoshield Technology but also to prevent injuries particularly in the playground, in the workplace, playing sports out in the sun.
H: Alright and what are the most common misconceptions that you guys usually face with regards to our eyes and UV rays?
Z: We’ve heard of many common misconceptions and now that we started our brand of sunglasses. But one of the common misconceptions is that sunglasses are toys and that they are really a fashion accessory rather than a preventative accessory. And so it concerns us that when we’re looking around in the playground or on the beach, in the park, when see adults sitting in the shade with hats on and sunglasses and their kids playing out there with nothing on. So the misconception that we really want to break is that kids’ eyes are really important just as important as their skin. And that no kids should be outdoors without maximum protective sunglasses like Beamers.
H: And can you give us the main takeaway message that you want our audience to hear today?
S: The main takeaway message today is that, we need to think always of protecting our eyes as well as our skin. We need to understand that these are real diseases and these diseases occur later in life. We’re not talking about a sunburn which causes redness of the skin straight away, we’re talking about … melanoma and cancers on skin which occur many years than the track. And so sometimes, if people say ‘We don’t have to wear glasses and we’re fine’ but they’re often in 30’s or 40’s. When I see patients sitting in my office in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. They say to me, ‘If only I knew I could wear sunglasses to prevent being here, I would have done it’. So we need to just remember that protecting our eyes from childhood is important to preventing disease later on in life.
Z: I guess our main message is to protect all children’s eyes form UV damage.
S: And Optoshield … that you know that your children are protected … and your eyes are protected too.
H: Alright and well those are our questions for today. And thank you for getting on the show, we appreciate your guys’ time.
Z: Thank you.
H: And that was Dr. Alina Zeldovich and Shanel Sharma, and we just talked about the dangers of the sun and how they are a lot of factors that not only affect our eyes but mainly our children’s eyes from sunrays and UV rays. If you want to get your own Beamers sunnies, you can go on www.beamers.com.au and you can get in touch with them on that website also. I’m Henry Acosta and you’ve been listening in the Health Professional Radio. If you want to listen to more health related topics, go on www.hpr.fm and you can find us on SoundCloud and iTunes. Goodbye.