A Simple Step Can Protect Your Eyes This Summer

As soon as the weather begins to turn warmer, we are encouraged to get outdoors. Who doesn’t like the sensation of warm sunlight on their skin, especially after a particularly cold and rainy winter season! Sunlight is a tricky thing; it is necessary for natural vitamin D production in the body and yet we are told we need to be somewhat wary of sunshine due to the risks associated with UV light. UVA and UVB rays, specifically, are concerning because the atmosphere does not filter these rays. Therefore, they come at us with full power. That is how we get that surprise sunburn that leads to premature aging and risk of skin cancer.
Ultraviolet light isn’t all bad but it does have a dark side that we need to be aware of in order to protect our skin and also our eyes. Many people know that ultra-bright light can cause a bit of eye strain. However, most do not know that exposure to UV light can cause eye problems that aren’t noticed until it’s too late to prevent them.
Ultraviolet Light and Your Eyes
Several eye diseases have a connection with ultraviolet light. Some can be temporarily uncomfortable and some pose a threat to vision. These include:
Sometimes, too much sunlight into the eyes leads to the growth of fleshy tissue on the ocular surface. Growths can be little more than a cosmetic nuisance or they can be visually disruptive depending on their location and size.
Sunburn is something we typically associate with our skin. However, the eyes can also be burned by sunlight. Like Pterygia, photokeratitis is more prone to happen when light is reflected off of a surface such as water.
Multiple studies have made a connection between UV exposure and cataract formation. Typically, cataracts do not develop until later in life. However, evidence suggests that early or ongoing UV exposure relates to the onset and severity of these accumulated proteins on the eye.
Macular degeneration. Called age-related macular degeneration, this eye disease may develop earlier in adults who tend to spend a lot of time in the sunshine without adequate protection.
You Can Protect Your Eyes as Soon as Tomorrow
There is one clear way to minimize the exposure your eyes get to UV light and that is to wear sunglasses. Most sunglasses today are made to filter 100% of the ultraviolet light that could cause damage within the eye but it’s still beneficial to read the label to confirm this. With adequate filtering of sunlight through sunglasses, there is a good opportunity to prevent unnecessary eye problems.
Are you interested to know where your eyes stand in terms of long-term health? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam in our Winchester, VA office by calling 540.722.6200.
Posted in: Eye Health


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