Most are aware of the negative impacts that UV light can have on the skin. Yet, not as much attention is given to the effects of excessive amounts of UV light on the eyes. The human eye tissue is one of the most sensitive you’ll find in the human body and among the most vulnerable. This means that prolonged exposure to UV light can end up hurting your vision and causing eye problems.
Types Of UV Rays
Essentially, there are two kinds of UV rays, UV-A and UV-B. When your eyes are exposed to these rays for a long period of time, you might begin to experience a number of eye problems. UV-A may negatively affect your central vision by damaging the macula. This is a section of the retina that is located in the back of the eye. Meanwhile, most of the UV-B rays are absorbed by the lens and cornea at the front of the eye. However, these rays may end up causing even greater damage to your eyes than the UV-A rays.
How UV Rays Affect Your Vision
Too much UV light may lead to any of the following eye conditions:
• Cataracts- UV rays, mostly UV-B, may lead to some types of cataracts. This refers to the clouding around the eye’s natural lens, which is responsible for focusing the light our eyes perceive. Cataracts are the leading source of blindness. It’s been said that almost 20% of all cataracts are directly linked to excessive exposure to UV radiation.
• Macular Degeneration: Too much exposure to UV light may also lead to macular degeneration. The macula is the area of the retina where we get our central and clearest vision. When degeneration occurs, the tissue composition in the macula starts to change and causes loss of central vision. Macular degeneration happens to be the biggest culprit behind vision loss for the elderly in America and around the world.
• Pterygium: This is a pink growth that emerges on the white of the eye. It may begin on the white but can spread to the cornea over time. Eventually, the growth becomes inflamed and causes discomfort to the eye, as well as blocking the vision when it gets to the cornea. This condition is more common among individuals who spend most of their day out in the sun.
• Corneal Sunburn: Also known as photokeratitis, this condition comes about after short-term exposure to the UV-B rays. Spending longs hours skiing or at the beach without proper eye protection may lead to this problem. It can be quite painful and potentially cause temporary loss of vision.
• Cancer of the Eye: This refers to skin cancer that affects the eyelids; it can be very dangerous. The same way the sun leads to freckles on the skin, this condition may also result in freckles in the eyes. Although the freckles may be harmless, they still require monitoring to keep them from changing shape or size.
These are just some of the numerous eye issues that can emerge from UV exposure when you least expect. If you are feeling any kind of discomfort in your eyes, visit Ewing Optical for consultations and ask for a free quote.
For a consultation and to schedule an appointment contact us today at (561) 798-0244