Remember to Protect Your Eyes This Summer
We're slowly getting back to a normal sense of life that allows us to get outdoors more often. As we do, precautions are being taken to maintain health and wellness. In addition to doing what we must to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important to remember that, as good as it feels to have the sun on the skin, the UV light in sunshine can do damage that we pay for later.
What Is UV?
UV is ultraviolet light. Sunshine contains several UV rays. The UVA and UVB rays are of particular interest because, unlike other rays of ultraviolet light in the sun, these rays penetrate the atmosphere. They reach the earth with enough strength to cause sunburn and also to affect the eyes.
How UV Light can Affect the Eyes
Sunshine isn't all bad. When we expose the skin and the eyes to mild, early-morning sunlight, the body is stimulated to make vitamin D, an important nutrient for mood regulation and several other processes. However, if we go overboard with sunlight, which is easy to do, the skin and the eyes can sustain damage. Some of the eye conditions that have been linked to sun exposure include:
- Photokeratitis. This is like a sunburn on the cornea of the eyes. Photokeratitis usually occurs if a person does not wear appropriate sunglasses when they are outdoors on the water or snow. This is because the sun reflects off these surfaces, intensifying rays.
- Pterygia and pingueculae. When the eyes absorb too much UV light, growths can develop on the surface. This can lead to embarrassment because the growths are visible. It can also lead to vision distortion and damage to the cornea.
- Macular degeneration. This condition is known as age-related macular degeneration. It occurs when the center of the retina is damaged. Although macular degeneration worsens with age, studies have shown that exposure to UV light is a contributing factor.
- Cataracts. Another age-related condition, cataracts develop when protein particles clump together on the lens of the eye. This, too, has been associated with UV exposure.
It isn't necessary to avoid all sun exposure to protect the eyes from damage. When going outdoors, remember to wear sunglasses that filter as much UV light as possible. For those long days in the sun, also wear a hat.
Our team is proud to provide care to patients in Pasadena, TX and surrounding areas. To schedule an eye exam, call13) 473-5715.