Jun 1, 2023 | Eye Health Info

The Importance of UV Protection for Your Eyes

With summer upon us, we’re all looking forward to spending more time outdoors. But as we gear up for warmer weather, it’s essential to remember the importance of protecting our eyes from harmful UV rays. Let’s take a look at how the sun’s UV rays can impact your eye health and what you can do to protect your eyes.  

1. Cataracts  

Overexposure to UV radiation can increase your risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that can result in vision loss over time. While anyone can develop cataracts as they get older, chronic exposure to UV rays can speed the process up dramatically.  

2. Macular degeneration 

Macular degeneration is a progressive, age-related eye condition that affects the macula—the center of your field of vision. It can lead to blurred vision, distorted images. and eventually blindness. Research shows that spending too much time in the sun without proper eye protection can lead to developing this condition. 

3. Pterygium  

A pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye,” is a growth of pink, fleshy tissue that can develop over your cornea caused by chronic exposure to UV radiation. While it’s not typically dangerous in its early stages, it can irritate your eyes and even impair vision if left untreated. 

4. Photokeratitis  

Photokeratitis or sunburn of the eye is a condition that occurs when the eyes are exposed to an excessive amount of UV radiation. This often occurs when spending long hours in the sun without any eye protection, such as sunglasses or a hat. Symptoms of photokeratitis include redness, tearing, and temporary vision loss. 

5. Skin cancer  

Another alarming consequence of UV radiation is skin cancer. While most people are aware of the damaging effects that UV rays can have on the skin, many don’t realize that the eyes are also susceptible to developing cancerous growths. The skin around the eyes, such as the eyelids, is especially prone to cancer development, and it’s crucial to wear high-quality UV protective sunglasses when you’re out in the sun. 

How to protect your eyes from sun damage 

Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect your eyes while enjoying the outdoors. A good pair of sunglasses is a must-have when it comes to shielding your eyes from UV rays. Look for ones that block 99-100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays. Additionally, you can wear a wide-brimmed hat or visor to shade your face and eyes from the sun. 

You should also avoid looking directly at the sun, especially during midday hours when UV radiation is at its strongest. If you plan to be out in the sun for extended periods, consider taking breaks in the shade or an indoor area to give your eyes a rest. Lastly, make sure to schedule regular eye exams with your eye doctor to monitor your eye health and catch any problems early on.  

In conclusion, protecting your eyes from UV radiation is crucial for maintaining good eye health. Simple steps such as wearing sunglasses and a hat and reducing exposure to the sun can go a long way in safeguarding your eyes from potential harm. If you’re unsure how to choose the right sunglasses or have concerns about your eye health, give us a call today to schedule an eye exam in Portland!