The sun radiates life-giving rays that support life on earth. These rays, however, also pose certain dangers in the form of UV radiation. Ultraviolet radiation can also come from artificial sources, such as lasers, tanning beds, and welding machines. Most people know about the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin. Few, however, realize that ultraviolet radiation can be harmful to the eyes as well.
UV eye protection matters a lot. Ultraviolet radiation can damage the lens, cornea, and other parts of the eye. It can also damage the skin of your eyelid and contribute to the development of muscular degeneration and cataracts.
There are three types of ultraviolet radiation. The ozone layer absorbs UVC, which means that it does not present any dangers. UVA and UVB radiation, however, can present short- and long-term threats to the eyes and vision. If you expose your eyes to excessive levels of ultraviolet radiation, you will probably experience photokeratitis. You can describe this condition as sunburn of the eyes, and it can be quite painful.
Symptoms of photokeratitis include extreme sensitivity to light, red eyes, gritty feeling in the eyes, excessive tearing, and a foreign body sensation. These symptoms rarely cause permanent damage and are usually temporary. The longer you expose your eyes to UV radiation, the greater the chances of developing muscular degeneration and cataracts. However, it is not clear how much ultraviolet radiation will cause problems later in life.
Whenever you spend a significant amount of time outdoors, it is important to use UV protection for your eyes. Wear a cap or hat with a wide brim and high-quality sunglasses with UV protection. Certain types of contact lenses also provide additional ultraviolet protection. To offer adequate protection from solar radiation, your sunglasses should do the following:
Screen out at least 75 percent of visible light.
Have gray lenses for proper color recognition.
Block out at least 99 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
Have lenses that are free of imperfections and distortion, in addition to being perfectly color-matched.
No matter the time of year, your age, or location, you need to protect your eyes from solar radiation every time you go outside. UV radiation reaches you by unseen wavelengths. They cause DNA changes that lead to premature aging of the skin surrounding your eyes. They can also lead to certain types of skin cancers.
Essentially, UV radiation can cause other serious complications, such as corneal sunburn, macular degeneration, cataracts, and conjunctival cancers. Therefore, it is important to use UV protection for your eyes whenever you go outside. By using UV protection and making it a way of life, you and your family can have fun in the great outdoors while protecting your eyes.
Even when there is cloud cover, you need to understand that solar rays can pass through clouds and haze. Therefore, UV eye protection is important in all weather conditions. You should also take extra care near sand, snow, and water. More than 80 percent of solar rays reflect off such surfaces and hit your skin and eyes a second time.
If you are experiencing problems with your eyelids or eyes, visit your eye doctor as soon as possible. At Jarvis Vision Center, we aim to help our patients see clearly and comfortably. Based in Murray, Kentucky, we offer customized treatment plans to help our patients focus on what matters most. Call (270)279-8540 to schedule an appointment today.