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Sun protection habits and ocular UV damage of the Bulgarian population, first results using the method of conjunctival ultraviolet fluorescence

Evgeni Neshkinski, Dobrin Boyadzhiev, Christina Grupcheva


The purpose of this study is to present our first data and impressions of the sun protection habits and conjunctival ultraviolet autofluorescence (UVAF) of a randomly selected target group.

Materials and Methods: A prospective, randomized study, including photographs of 123 subjects (246 eyes) and 200 questionnaires. Subsequently UV photography based on autofluorecence was used. For each eye three pictures were taken - eye in first position, temporal gaze (documenting nasal part of the limbus) and nasal gaze (documenting temporal part of the limbus).

Results: Results are based on the study of 123 subjects (246 eyes). The participants in the study were aged between 5 and 88 years (average age=39). 87% of the surveyed believe that there is a risk of UV damage only in the summer. A significant percentage (55%) do not pay attention to the special protective equipment such as umbrellas and caps. Photography results were analyzed with specialized software and showed that 83 participants (67.48%) have conjunctival autofluorescence, as women prevail (women n=47 persons, men n=36 persons). The area of conjunctival UVAF tends to increase with age. No correlation between intensive sun exposure (resp. UV radiation) and a sharp increase in the dimensions of the UVAF zone is established, suggesting a chronic damage, in support of which is the demonstrative eye damage in people with high-risk occupations (associated with electric welding, lifeguards and other outdoor occupations).

Conclusions: We suggested that the area and the intensity of UVAF increases with age, and probably corresponds only to a chronic damage. The degree of damage correlates to a large extent to the bad sun protection habits demonstrated in the questionnaire.


ophthalmology; autofluorescence; sunlight; ultraviolet radiation; sun protection

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About The Authors

Evgeni Neshkinski
Medical University of Varna

Specialised Eye Hospital of Varna

Dobrin Boyadzhiev
Medical University of Varna

Specialised Eye Hospital of Varna, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Christina Grupcheva
Medical University of Varna

Specialised Eye Hospital of Varna, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

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