UV Exposure from Driving Leads To More Skin Cancers and Cataracts on Left Side

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:


Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler

Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler MD
Boxer Wachler Vision Institute
Beverly Hills, California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As an eye surgeon, I observed patients tended to have more age spots on the left side of their faces.  I was examining a patient with Keratoconus and after I noted her age spots on her left cheeks, I began to look into this phenomenon.  It turns out there are many studies that found more skin cancer on the left side of the face compared to the right side of the face.  In Australia (where people drive on the left side of the road) it’s the opposite – more skin cancer on the right side of the face.   Our study found that cars on average have significantly lower UVA (ultraviolet A) protection in the side windows compared to windshields which have universally high UVA protection.  I believe this can be the missing link that can explain higher rates of skin cancer on the side of the face by the driver’s window. There are also more cataracts in left eyes vs right eyes.  There was no relationship between high-end cars and low-end cars for side window UV protection – in other words many more pricey cars had just as poor side window UV protection as less expensive cars.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: While driving your car, you are likely getting more unprotected UVA exposure from the sun on the left side of your face, arms and eyes.   It would be prudent to consider having an aftermarket clear, fully UV blocking film put on your car side windows to protect you (and your children in the backseats if you have children).  Our study also found that tinted windows do NOT equate to complete UV protection, so even if your car has tinted windows, it could lull you into a false sense of security.  This can be a potential public safety issue for millions of drivers in the United States.  People can contact our office for a free card to simply and easily test the UV protection of their car windows (and home windows too) by emailing this request to our office at [email protected].

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We have completed a follow up study (not published yet) with additional models and makes and the results are similar.  

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: People can contact our office for a free card to simply and easily test the UV protection of their car windows (and home windows too) by emailing this request to our office at www.boxerwachler.com/uv

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Boxer Wachler BS. Assessment of Levels of Ultraviolet A Light Protection in Automobile Windshields and Side Windows. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online May 12, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.1139.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 12, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD