When it comes to UV rays, out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind. Just because we can’t see UV rays doesn’t mean they can’t harm us. UV rays can burn our eyes just as they can damage our skin. Thus, just as you would conscientiously apply sunblock to your skin before going out, it’s equally important to take steps to protect your eyes. Eye doctors warn that constant exposure to harmful UV rays put you at risk for many kinds of eye diseases.
How does the sun damage your eyes?
Our eyes have two levels of built-in protection. First, we have the eyelids. Unfortunately, our eyelid skin is very thin. Even with your eyes closed, UV rays pass through them.
inside the eye, the cornea absorbs UVB rays to protect the lens and the retina, while the lens absorbs UVA rays to protect the retina. Frequent absorption of UV rays, however, results in the breakdown of tissues. Age and a lifetime of exposure to harmful UV rays can lead to:
- Cataracts – A clouding of the lenses, cataracts obstruct vision, causing objects to appear blurry. Cataracts can be treated with laser eye surgery.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – The macula is the part of the eye responsible for central vision. When the macula is damaged, central vision is affected. Images become blurry, and the patient is unable to perceive depth or discern colors.
- Pterygium is a non-cancerous growth of tissue that spreads over the cornea, impeding vision.
- Pingueula is a yellowish lump that grows on the white part of the eye. It is also non-cancerous but causes dry eyes and irritation.
- Eyelid cancer – Excessive exposure to sunlight can lead to eye and eyelid cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and ocular melanoma.
Ways to Protect Your Eyes This Summer
Here at Sugarland Eye & Laser Center, your top LASIK facility in Texas, eye doctors are dedicated to your vision. As such, we have compiled a list of tips on how to protect your eyes against the blazing Houston sun this summer:
- Wear sunglasses when going outdoors – even on cloudy days! UV rays can penetrate through clouds. Wear sunglasses that provide 99% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Better if you wear wraparound sunglasses as they protect your eyes from all sides. When driving, fishing, or now the snow, wear polarized lenses to protect your eyes from glare.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Hats block out as much as 50% of the UV radiation from the sun, providing additional protection not only to your eyes but also hair and skin.
- Wear contact lenses with UV ray protection. Some contact lenses are built with UV blocking materials, adding extra protection from UV rays that get past sunglasses and hats.
- Minimize sun exposure. Sun rays are at their strongest from 10 am to 2 pm. Avoid going out in the sun during these hours as much as possible.
Practice these strategies this summer – and all year round – and you can enjoy healthy vision into old age.
Houston LASIK & Eye leads in providing premium LASIK technologies to Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding region. The Center’s award-winning medical director introduced revolutionary technologies such as iLASIK to the region. This technology is used by NASA astronauts, Navy SEALS and Air Force fighter pilots. At Houston LASIK & Eye, you can now receive the same treatment. For more information, please call (281) 240-0478 or visit us at www.houston-lasik.com.
About the Author
Amjad Khokhar, M.D. is Chief LASIK Surgeon at Houston LASIK & Eye. Add Dr. Khokhar on Google+ here.