Ultraviolet Radiation and Your Eyes
We all know that ultraviolet radiation, found in high concentration in direct sunlight, is dangerous to the skin. Other than the risk of sunburn and skin cancer, did you also know that ultraviolet (UV) light is also harmful to the eyes? Eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, photokeratitis, pingueculae and pterygia are all directly linked to prolonged UV exposure.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and can cause the vision to become hazy and mask the finer details in your vision. Macular degeneration robs the central vision of those who have the vision, causing difficulties in reading and recognising faces. Pingueculae and pterygia, although affecting vision less, are growths on the eye’s surface that can look unsightly and lead to uncomfortable eyes. Our team of optometrists are always looking out for these signs and will be able to advise you if they see any of these changes.
“There are many ways that you can reduce the exposure of UV light to your eyes,” says Jason Searle, our locum optometrist, “with a good pair of UV-blocking sunglasses a first point of call”. The risk factors that provide the highest UV exposure include geographical location, time of day, altitude and whether you are in an area of high reflective surfaces (such as looking out to sea, walking in the snow or even relaxing on the beach). “The reflective surfaces of water, snow and sand cause a lot of UV light to be reflected back up into your eyes, making shielding your eyes from the overhead sun inadequate. The only way to avoid most of this light is to either stay indoors during sunny days or to wear adequate eye protection, such as large, wraparound sunglasses”.
Children also require sun protection, as their eyes are still developing and are at greater risk. They also have a long road ahead of them, so minimising the UV exposure from an early age gives them a great start. With the news of short-sightedness being linked with excessive indoor time, we should be encouraging children to spend time outdoors, but also need to protect their eyes whilst doing so.
Make sure all sunglasses carry the CE mark and block 100% of ultraviolet radiation. A lot of market-stalls and pound-stores that sell sunglasses do not live up to the standards to protect the eyes and do not cater for your prescription. We have a good range of sunglasses available and our optometry team are happy to assist you in choosing the right pair for you. To book a no-obligation appointment with our team, call 01249 653292 today.