It is easy to forget just how damaging the sun can be. Sure, most of us thrive in the sunshine, feeling rejuvenated and warmed by the rays. And while there is a lot of talk out there regarding how dangerous the sun can be to our skin, our eyes are often negated. The fact of the matter is that the sun is a serious threat to our eyes and overall vision health. This is where UV protection comes in handy. Here at First Eye Care DFW, we believe in doing everything we can to provide our patients with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions when it comes to their vision. Today we are going to look at the importance of UV protection and why UV rays can be so damaging to our eyesight.
What Are UV Rays, Anyway?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun happens every single day, whether it is the dead of winter or middle of summer. Typically, we don’t even realize that we are being exposed to UV radiation because it is invisible to the eye. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take measures to protect yourself. The easiest – and best – way to protect your eyes from UV rays is by wearing sunglasses. Now, not all sunglasses are created equal, so make sure your sunglasses offer UV protection. If you have questions about this or are thinking about getting prescription sunglasses, please do not hesitate to contact First Eye Care DFW.
How UV Rays Can Damage Your Eyes
There are several different ways that UV rays can damage your eyes and skin. For one, the sun can lead to skin cancer, deep wrinkles, and premature aging. Additionally, it can be straight nasty on the eyes. If your eyes are exposed too much to UV rays without protection, it can lead to a wide range of complications and conditions, including:
- Macular Degeneration – Perhaps the biggest vision concern in general, macular degeneration can be caused by too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays. It is also the leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
- Cataracts – UV rays may also cause several different kinds of cataracts, a condition characterized by a clouding of the eye’s natural lens.
- Pterygium – This is another UV-related problem that is basically a growth that starts on the white of the eye and often involves the cornea. Over time, the growth will block a person’s vision. This condition is quite common amongst people who work outside in the sun and wind.
- Skin Cancer – Skin cancer can appear anywhere, including around the eyelids and eyes. This is yet another reason why wearing sunglasses and taking other protective measures is important.
- Photokeratitis – This condition occurs when the cornea is basically sunburned because of exposure to harmful UV rays. It is very painful and can happen as a result of exposure to sunlight reflected off snow, ice, water, or sand, or by spending time outdoors without sunglasses.
According to research, wearing a pair of sunglasses can reduce your chance of getting cataracts by 20 percent. This simple action can also prevent photokeratitis and many other conditions. To learn more about how UV rays can damage your eyes and what can be done to prevent it, please contact us. We encourage our patients to come in for a comprehensive eye exam at least once per year, if not more, to ensure no damage has been done and your eyes are healthy.