With summer just around the corner, a lot of people are probably looking forward to getting a great deal of sunlight. But too much sunlight is also harmful to human skin and as a matter of fact for our eyes as well.
But it is essential to be careful to not expose our eyes (or our epidermis ) to a lot of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, as it can lead to numerous problems both in the short-term and long term.
Which Exactly Are UV Rays?
The sun gives three kinds of ultraviolet radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
UVC is the most dangerous type, although only astronauts really must be worried about them because a lot of them are absorbed by the ozone layer until they can reach us.
UVB rays aren’t as powerful as UVC but they can get beyond the ozone layer and down to affect us, where they can harm our corneas (the clear layer in the front of our eyes) with too much vulnerability. While the poorer type of UV rays, UVA rays penetrate further than UVB, making them capable of reaching the retina at the back of the eye.
Short-Term UV Vision Problems
Hopefully, most of us know better than to look straight in sunlight, but only being outdoors for many hours on a sunny day may mean enough UV exposure to create a condition called photokeratitis. Essentially, this is a portion of the surface of the eye, with symptoms such as redness, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and tearing.
In the summer-time, you may notice people complaining about them suffering from photokeratitis or “snow blindness,” but you may just as readily encounter it after a day on the shore without sunglasses. Photokeratitis is generally temporary, and you’ll be able to use artificial tears and cold compresses to lessen the discomfort.
Read More: Dr Kondrot Answers: Is lack of Ultraviolet Light a Cause of Macular Degeneration?
UV Vision Damage Over Time
UV exposure has a cumulative effect throughout our own lives, such as raising the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Two other states we’re more vulnerable to due to UV exposure are pinguecula and pterygium, more commonly called “surfer’s eye”.
Pinguecula happens when a white or yellow bump creates in the conjunctiva that covers the whites of our eyes. Pterygium is an overgrowth of tissue from the white of the eye towards the iris.
Guarding Your Eyesight
Luckily, we can do a lot to protect our eyes if we only follow a few Straightforward tips:
- Prevent exposure to sunlight during the brightest hours of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
- Wear wide-brimmed hats to provide extra color.
- Always wear sunglasses out during the day, and be certain they block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
How Long Is It Since We Saw You?
If you have any questions about UV rays and how to guard your eyes against them, you must visit your ophthalmologist. Furthermore, if it’s been a while since your last eye exam, or particularly if you’ve noticed any changes in your eyesight, do not hesitate to schedule your next appointment with an eye doctor!