When it comes to UV rays, using sunscreen is just one of many ways to protect yourself from harmful sun exposure. It’s UV Safety Awareness Month, and our eye doctors at The Laser Eye Center™ want you to understand the importance of protecting your eyes from UV-A and UV-B light.
How Does Sun Exposure Damage Your Eyes?
Excess sunlight affects your eye health. While we’re extra cautious of sun exposure during summer, UV exposure can cause damage year-round. Ultraviolet rays damage your eye’s tissues and increase your risk of certain eye diseases, including cataracts and macular degeneration. These conditions are leading causes of blindness and require surgery or prompt treatment to preserve your vision. Being vigilant about eye care when you’re in the sun can protect your eyesight.
Cataracts are curable with cataract surgery, but macular degeneration is much more challenging to treat. UV rays harm the macula (middle of the retina) responsible for seeing fine details and central vision. It’s essential to protect your eyes from UV light to prevent vision loss and blindness from these eye diseases. Years of sun exposure also increase your risk of eye cancer.
People who spend a lot of time in the sun without UV-protective sunglasses are more likely to develop pterygium, a growth on the eye. Farmers, fishers, surfers and skiers often experience pterygium. Snow blindness is another eye concern that can happen from UV exposure and occurs when UV rays are amplified and reflected off the snow, ice, water or sand. In many cases, the sun causes “silent” damage over time, but snow blindness arises quickly, typically in windy, dry or cold conditions in high elevation. Sunglasses that filter UV-A and UV-B light rays can prevent these eye concerns.
Picking Your Sunglasses
Babies, children and adults need to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes, and it’s a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat for additional precautions. When looking for sunglasses, you want to make sure they’re more than fashionable. Your sunglasses should provide 100 percent UV protection against UV-A and UV-B light. Wrap-around sunglasses are best to ensure complete coverage, and your prescription eyeglasses should have a UV-protective coating. Contact lenses do not filter UV rays.
Remember that your eyes are vulnerable to sun exposure year-round, even on cloudy days. If you experience sudden vision changes or worrisome symptoms, contact our eye doctors in Southern California to schedule an eye exam.
Schedule Your Eye Exam at The Laser Eye Center™
You can schedule your appointment with our experienced eye doctors by calling The Laser Eye Center™ at (800) 805-2737.
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Get started on your journey to clearer, crisper vision with Laser Eye Center™. Our expert team of doctors are trained and skilled in the latest technology and methods for laser vision correction. To learn more about our state-of-the-art All Laser LASIK technology or about All Laser LASIK itself, contact us today. Schedule your FREE All Laser LASIK consultation by calling today.