Sunlight is just one of the many types of energy that the sun releases. Heat is another and Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a third. And while many know that UV rays can cause skin damage, such as sun burn or skin cancer, few people realize that UV rays can also damage vision.
UV rays can attribute to several different eye problems, including:
- Macular Degeneration: The leading cause of vision loss for older Americans, macular degeneration affects the part of the retina (the macula) responsible for the sharp, central vision.
- Cataracts: UV rays may also contribute to some kinds of cataracts, which is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens.
- Pterygium: Another UV-related problem, pterygium is a growth on the white of the eye that can eventually block vision.
- Corneal Sunburn: Photokeratitis, better known as corneal sunburn, can be extremely painful. It is the result of high short-term exposure to UV-B rays.
- Skin Cancer: Prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in skin cancer around the eyelids.
Protecting your Eyes from Harmful UV Rays
- Eye Protection: Wear sunglasses, prescription glasses, and other eyewear that absorb UV rays.
- Wide Brimmed Hat: Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will help block at least half of UV rays, which can come from many directions, reflected off the ground, water, snow, sand and more.
- Cloudy Days are still dangerous: UV rays can still damage your eyes on cloudy days, so be sure to wear sunglasses whenever you are outside.
- Regular Checkups with your Eye Doctor: One of the best ways you can protect your vision is to schedule regular checkups with your eye doctor – Ophthalmologist or Optometrist. Your eye doctor will not only evaluate your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but he/she will also inspect your eyes for common eye diseases and other problems that could lead to vision loss.
Please be safe this summer and be sure to protect your eyes!
To learn more about UV Safety Month and Proper Eye Health, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrist Dr. Nathan Frank, and the eye care specialists at Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or click here to visit AnneArundelEyeCenter.com.
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the Anne Arundel Eye Center offers comprehensive specialized ophthalmic exams as well as diagnostic pre and post-surgical eye care. Specializing in glaucoma and cataracts, Dr. Boles has helped restore and preserve thousands of patients’ vision.
Vision problems may be a natural part of aging. Losing your vision doesn’t have to be.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.
Protect Your Eyes from the Sun Prevent Blindness America