It’s important to protect ourselves from the sun’s UV Rays. While the sun feels warm and comfortable against our skin, it can also cause damage to our skin and eyes. And many of us are aware that UV rays are damaging to the skin; we wear protective sunscreens and encourage clothing that helps to filter and block any harmful effects. But did you know that UV rays can also harm the eyes? It’s true. And there are three types of UV rays: UV-C, which is absorbed by the ozone and do not present any real threat, and UV-A and UV-B rays, which can both have harmful effects on our vision, both in the short and long term.
Short term effects of the sun’s rays on the eyes vary, although one likely effect is photokeratitis, which can be painful and is best described as a sunburn to the eye. There are numerous symptoms for the condition, although the likeliest include redness, the sensation of a foreign body, a gritty feeling, and extreme sensitivity to light. Photokeratitis could also be caused from an artificial light source, such as the electric arc that occurs while welding.
Long term effects of UV rays include both vision loss and the development of cataracts. Although it’s not entirely clear how much exposure is needed to pinpoint UV radiation as the sole culprit of these dangerous eye conditions, it is known that UV rays do contribute considerably, and the longer the exposure the greater the chance of development.
That’s why it’s important to remember to protect the eyes from the sun. Wear sunglasses and, when appropriate, consider a hat with a wide protective brim. Your sunglasses should also be designed to block both UV-A and UV-B rays. And if you have any questions about which glasses will best protect your eyes form the sun, or if it’s time to schedule your next eye exam with your eye doctor, then call Vision Optical today.