How to Have Fun in the Sun Without Harming Your Eyes

By PasadenaEye
July 15, 2019

The eyes provide us with one of our most important senses. This is a little something we can take for granted, never really thinking that our eyesight may be affected by our daily habits. When it comes to having fun in the sun in the safest possible way, what we’ve come to know is that we need to wear sunscreen. Rarely do people say that UV safety brings up the thought that their eyes need that ounce of protection, too.

Ultraviolet Light Affects the Eyes

UV light is ultraviolet rays of multiple different wavelengths of light. In addition to degrading the skin by breaking down collagen in the skin, the UVA and UVB light in sunshine can also permeate the eyes. On the surface of the eyes, this light can cause sunburn. That’s right! Just like the skin can burn, so can the eyes. This is an unpleasant condition, resulting in itching and watering, a gritty or dry feeling, and pretty intense light sensitivity. While the sunburn fades within a few days, the effects of UV absorption in the eye can have long-lasting effects on the lens and even on the macula at the very back of the eye.

Sunglasses: Is it That Simple?

Many people wear sunglasses to decrease the intensity of the light that enters the eyes. For years, we’ve heard that this is the answer. It is, sort of. You see, it isn’t important to just wear sunglasses but to wear sunglasses that are going to filter all UV light. Sunglasses don’t work by dimming the light that we see through the lenses on our face. Dimming light only causes the pupils to open wide for more light to enter.  If sunglasses are not made with both UVA and UVB filters, the eye is absorbing concentrated rays that break down internal structure.

Another common misconception about sunglasses is that polarized lenses are more protective. The only thing polarized sunglasses do is reduce glare. This can be good, but it is not a feature that diminishes the risks that UV light presents to eye health.

Pasadena Eye Associates offers comprehensive eye services that can help you understand the risks of UV light and also mitigate them. Talk with your eye doctor about your eye health, then speak with one of our optical specialists about the best sunglasses for your lifestyle. Call 713.473.5715 to schedule your visit.

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