Most people are familiar with the fact that excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays can result in sunburn as well as skin cancer. However, many people aren’t aware that UV rays can damage the eyes. Excessive exposure to UV rays has been associated with substantial eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygia, pingueculae, as well as photokeratitis.
In order to ensure your eyes are protected from solar radiation, you should always wear sunglasses when outdoors. These sunglasses should restrict 100 percent of ultraviolet rays. Keep in mind that your eyes require protection even if it is cloudy outside because the UV rays have the ability to penetrate through the clouds.
Sunglass frames that have a form-fitting wraparound style offer the best protection since they minimize the amount of sunlight that can reach your eyes.
Many individuals refer to UV radiation as UV light, but this specific term is technically inaccurate since you are unable to see UV rays. UV radiation is completely invisible.
There are three types of UV radiation, which are as follows.
This is the highest form of UV rays and can potentially be the most damaging to your skin and eyes. Luckily, the atmosphere’s ozone layer is able to block almost all of these rays. However, because of the weakening of the ozone layer, there is the potential that these high-energy UVC rays could reach the surface of the Earth and cause serious health problems related to this UV exposure. UVC wavelengths range anywhere from between 100 and 280 nanometers.
The wavelengths of UVB rays are a bit longer at somewhere between 280 and 215 nanometers, and they are lower energy than UVC rays. UVB rays are filtered partly by the ozone, though some of them are able to reach the surface of the Earth.
In small doses, these rays are able to stimulate melanin production, which helps the skin darken in color, helping to create a tan. However, in larger doses, these rays can result in a sunburn, increasing the danger of skin cancer developing. These rays can also result in wrinkles, discolorations of the skin, as well as other symptoms of early skin aging.
Overexposure to UVB radiation has been linked to a variety of eye issues, such as photokeratitis, pterygium, and pinguecula. Due to the fact that the cornea absorbs 100 percent of these rays, this particular form of ultraviolet radiation is not likely to result in macular degeneration or cataracts, which is associated with the exposure of UVA radiation.
UVA rays have the lowest energy of all the rays mentioned here and are the closest to light rays that are visible. UVA rays are able to move through the cornea of the eye and actually reach the eye’s lens and retina.
Overexposure to these rays has been associated to the developed of some cataracts. In addition, research has shown that it might play a significant role in macular degeneration development.
Any individual who spends a lot of time outside is in danger for developing eye issues as a result of UV radiation. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to the dose of ultraviolet radiation that you get when you’re outside, including the following:
In the U.S., the UV Index measures the risk for UV exposure. The UV Index was established by the EPA and NWS, and it predicts the UV radiation levels each day on a scale of 1 to 11+. The EPA publishes the UV Index on a daily basis and also publishes a UV Alert if the amount of solar radiation that particular day is anticipated to be remarkably high.
The potential risk of skin and eye damage from solar radiation is cumulative, which means that the danger only continues to grow the longer that you are out in the sun in your lifetime. Keeping that in mind, it is particularly important that you ensure your children shield their eyes from UV rays, as children tend to spend more time outside than adults.
Actually, there are some experts that say due to the fact that children spend drastically more time outside that the majority of adults, as much as half of an individual’s lifetime exposure to ultraviolet rays can occur before they reach 18 years of age.
In addition, children are far more vulnerable to eye damage from ultraviolet rays due to the fact that the lens inside children’s eyes is purer than the lens in an adult’s eye, which allows more UV to enter deep into the eye.
Make certain that your children’s eyes are properly protected from UV rays with decent sunglasses or possibly photochromic lenses when they’re outside. In addition, you should encourage your children to wear a hat when it is particularly sunny outside to reduce the exposure to the sun even more.
To most effectively shield your eyes from ultraviolet rays, make sure that you are always wearing quality sunglasses outside. You will want to search for sunglasses that restrict 100 percent of all ultraviolet rays. If you need help, your eye doctor can assist you choosing the best sunglasses for your individual needs.
To ensure that as much of your skin around the eyes is protected, you will want to look for sunglasses with a form-fitting wraparound style or large lenses. Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to consider looking at sport or performance sunglasses.
The level of protection that the sunglasses provides is not related to the darkness or color of the lenses. For instance, a dark gray lens and an amber-colored lens will provide similar UV protection. Your eye doctor can confirm that the sunglass lenses that you have chosen offer full protection from UV radiation.
On top of wearing sunglasses, you should consider putting on a hat with a wide brim when the sun is out to minimize the exposure of UV rays by as much as half.
There are many myths that exist when it comes to protection for your eyes from the sun. Here are a few things to keep in mind moving forward:
Prior to investing in sunglasses, make an appointment with your eye doctor for an eye exam. All it takes is a minor change in your prescription or a small amount of refractive error to make a huge difference in providing you clear, comfortable outdoor vision.
To ensure that you are able to fully enjoy a beautiful, sunny day, ensure you have the correct sunglasses to shield your eyes from the damaging UV rays. For more information, contact Performance Vision.