We know that ultraviolet light from the sun damages the skin and causes skin cancer, but the skin is not the only part of your body sensitive to UV light. Your eyes are even more sensitive and subject to damage. Ultraviolet radiation is invisible, but the damage it does is very real.
What UV Radiation Does To The Eye
The radiation causes long-term damage such as cataracts and cancer in and around the eye. Growths such as pterygia, tissue that grows on the surface of the sclera and across the cornea, are also due to sun damage. Pterygia often occurs in younger people, especially those who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Types Of Ultraviolet Radiation
UVC - UVC has the highest energy level and would cause the most damage, but fortunately the ozone layer of the atmosphere blocks penetration of these rays to the Earth's surface.
UVB - Most of the UVB rays are blocked by the atmosphere. Lower in energy than UVC radiation, UVB appears to be 100 percent absorbed by the cornea of the eye so no radiation enters the eye. Therefore, UVB is not involved in the development of cataracts. The UVB rays are responsible for snow blindness and pterygia.
UVA - UVA rays are the lowest in energy. They are able to pass through the cornea and are the cause of cataracts, and possibly macular degeneration.
Fresh snow reflects 80 percent of the UV light on a sunny day. Snow blindness is an example of acute sun damage, almost a sunburn of the eyes. So if you're skiing in the summer, wear UV blocking sunglasses.
The best protection for anyone, from babies to octogenarians, besides a wide-brimmed hat, are UV blocking sunglasses. Get glasses that block 99 parent of the UVA and UVB radiation with lenses large enough to block light coming in from the sides. You can get them in your prescription. If you wear contact lenses, you can buy regular UV blocking sunglasses to wear over the contacts. Contact lenses come in UV blocking types as well.
Taking care of our eyes requires some thought. If you have dry eyes, you would want to use dry eye treatment to alleviate it. Preventing cataracts and macular degeneration, and protecting your eyes means using UV blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. It's a beautiful world out there. Make sure you can see it.
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Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer based out of Boston, Mass. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.