Bright Eyes: Effects the Sun Can Have on Your Vision
Sporting those summer shades aren’t just for looking cool. UV light can damage eyesight in a serious way. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is getting more attention regarding the dangers of skin damage and how it can cause cancer. However, UV radiation and eye damage is also a major concern that should be taken seriously. Protecting your eyes is crucial in your current and future eye care.
Shedding Some Light on UV Radiation
The sun is dangerous as a result of UV light or radiation. However, this type of light and radiation can come from other sources like tanning beds, lasers, and welding machines. UV radiation comes in various types: UV-C, UV-A, and UV-B. Since UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer, it poses no threat or danger to human beings. However, UV-A and UV-B radiation can have damaging effects on skin, eyes, and your vision. UV Light directly impacts eyesight by causing many eye diseases and conditions. Eye conditions that result from exposure to UV rays include the following:
- Macular Degeneration (AMD) – Damages your retina and is the leader in age-related blindness
- Cataracts – Causes clouding of the eye’s natural lens
- Pterygium – Commonly known as “surfer’s eye” and is a pink, non-cancerous growth. It forms over the white of the eye
- Skin Cancer – Can develop around the eyelids when exposed to UV light
- Photokeratitis – A corneal sunburn that can be extremely painful or result in temporary vision loss
Anyone can be at risk for eye damage from UV light. If you are exposed for long periods of time in the sun without sunglasses, this can increase your risk. Here are other ways you can be at risk:
- Using a tanning bed or sunlamp
- If you have a preexisting condition such as cataracts or a retinal disorder
- Certain medications can increase your risk because they cause higher eye sensitivity to light (these can include tetracycline, sulfonamide drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers)
- If you’re a welder or medical technologist
Now that you know the dangers of UV rays on vision, there are many steps you can take to protect your eyesight. If you wear adequate eye protection and a sun hat, this should help a great deal. When looking for sunglasses, they should have the following specifications:
- Sunglasses that block UV-A and UV-B radiation by 99-100%
- They should screen out visible light by 75-90%
- Buy grey lenses – they cause proper color recognition
- Use wrap around frames for extra protection if you spend a lot of time outside
If you have children or teenagers, make sure that you share these tips with them as well, as they usually spend more time outside. It’s also important to go to your eye appointments and get an exam at least every two years. This is a good habit for maintenance of your vision and for any more information you want to know about eye health related to UV rays.
We value each and every patient that comes into our clinic. If you’re concerned about how the sun is affecting your eyes, we are happy to chat with you about it or any other eye-related issue. We have been serving the Orange County community for four decades, and pride ourselves in patient care.