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Harmful Effects Of UV Rays On Eyes

By brian – December 31, 2019

The sun can be a much-needed source of warmth after a chilly winter. However, the UV rays it emits can have harmful effects on your eyes. Luckily, there are ways to help protect your eyes during the summer months.

How UV Rays Affect Your Eyes

The sun emits three types of UV rays: UVC, UVA, and UVB. UVC rays don’t pose much of a threat because they are absorbed by the ozone layer. However, UVA and UVB rays are not, so they’re more likely to cause the following eye issues with long- and short-term exposure.

  • Photokeratitis – Long days at the shore make your eyes more susceptible to corneal sunburn, or photokeratitis. This condition can occur after short-term exposure to UVB rays, and results in inflammation of the cornea, hazy vision, and red, watery eyes.
  • Cataracts – There are no official causes of cataracts, but overexposure to UVB rays is said to be one of the risk factors that promote progression of the disease. Cataracts are a naturally occurring problem that develop when proteins cloud the eye’s natural lens and cause changes in vision.
  • Cancer of the Eye – Long-term exposure to UV rays can also cause severe eye health issues like melanoma.

How To Prevent UV Exposure To Eyes

The sun is tough to avoid, especially during the summer months, but there are ways to help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The easiest and most common ways to protect your eyes are to wear sunglasses and hats.

Many sunglasses are made with lenses that can block 99% to 100% of UV rays. So when you’re looking for a new pair of sunglasses, make sure you purchase a pair that features these UV-protective lenses.

However, sunglasses don’t provide complete protection. There are gaps within the frames that can expose your eyes to these harmful rays. Wide-brimmed hats can deliver the extra protection to better reduce your eye’s exposure to the sun by blocking light around your eyes that sunglasses can’t.

On top of that, your eyes can still be exposed to harmful UV rays during cloudy days. At the very least, make sure to always wear sunglasses whenever you venture outside regardless of the amount of cloud cover to ensure your eyes are protected.

The sun’s warmth is great after a cold winter, but its UV rays can lead to serious eye issues if you’re not careful. Make sure you take the time to understand the harmful effects of UV rays on eyes and follow the tips above to ensure they’re protected and safe during the bright summer months.

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