You are probably aware of the effects that extended sun exposure can have on your skin, but you might not be as conscious of the damage that the sun can do to your eyes. The effects of UV rays to the eyes can be temporary or permanent, and in both cases physical discomfort to the eyes is likely to occur. Wearing proper protective lenses like sunglasses or UV protected eyeglasses can greatly reduce the risk of UV exposure from sunlight, which can cause damages like those listed below.
- Cataracts: UV light can accelerate the aging process in the eyes, causing cataracts to develop in younger individuals. Cataracts are extremely common in aging eyes, and they generally are not seen in patients younger than 60. However, prolonged sun exposure can cause cataracts to develop earlier in life and severely impair vision. A cataract is clouding within the lens that gradually blurs vision.
- Snow Blindness: This temporary condition is a painful sensation in the eyes that is causes by bright light reflecting off surfaces like water or snow, temporarily blurring vision and causing pain. Frequent snow blindness from UV exposure without eye protection can cause permanent damage to the retina. UV-related damage to the retina will result in permanent vision loss that is not correctable through glasses, contacts, or eye surgery.
- Conjunctivitis: Because UV light is absorbed by the cornea and conjunctiva, this tissue is more susceptible to inflammation after UV exposure. The results of this condition may include temporarily blurred vision, pain and swelling, and watery discharge from the eyes.
Get to know how you can better protect your eyes from UV damage by visiting FYidoctors. Schedule an appointment today with one of our many locations across Canada. Please see our website for a listing of locations.