Summer Alert: Beware of UV Light!

Everyone enjoys having fun in the sun. We are all aware that excessive sun exposure causes skin damage. But did you know that its ultraviolet (UV) rays may potentially cause eye damage? According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 15 million cataract-related blindness cases worldwide, and 10% of these cases may be related to UV exposure.

what is uv lightMany of us look forward to spending more time outside as summer draws near, bringing longer days and nicer weather. However, it is vital to be aware of the possible hazards associated with increased UV radiation/light exposure during this season and to take precautions to protect our eyes. While UV light has some benefits, like stimulating vitamin D production, eliminating germs, and enhancing mood, excessive exposure can cause an array of eye disorders and visual impairments. But what is UV light?

What is UV Light?

UV light is a kind of electromagnetic radiation that is not visible to the naked eye. It is classified into three kinds: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA rays have the longest wavelengths and can enter the skin and eyes deeply. UVB rays have medium wavelengths and predominantly impact the skin's and eyes' outer layers. The least dangerous UVC rays are those with the shortest wavelengths since they are primarily absorbed by the earth's atmosphere.

uv light can damage the eyesDuring the summer months, people prefer to spend more time outside partaking in activities such as beach excursions, hiking, and sports. This increased outdoor exposure increases the danger of skin and eye UV light exposure. While many people use sunscreen to protect their skin, the necessity of eye protection is sometimes forgotten.

Excessive Ultraviolet light exposure might harm your eyes in the short and long term. The sensitive tissues of the eyes, including the cornea, lens, and retina, can be harmed by extended exposure to UV light. This can result in many eye disorders and visual issues, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygium and photokeratitis, colloquially known as "sunburn of the eye." Understanding these conditions is critical in order to realize the significance of protecting our eyes from damaging UV light:

a. Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the most common eye diseases related to UV light. Cataracts develop when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded, resulting in impaired vision and decreased visual acuity. UVB rays, in particular, have been strongly linked to cataract development. Prolonged exposure to UVB light can damage the proteins in the lens, causing clouding and the development of cataracts. Wearing sunglasses that filter 100% of UVA and UVB rays can lower the chance of acquiring cataracts substantially.

b. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye illness that damages the macula, the center region of the retina responsible for crisp, focused vision. UV light, particularly UVA and blue light, has been linked to the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to research, chronic UVA and blue light exposure can produce oxidative stress in the retina, resulting in cellular damage that leads to the development of AMD. Individuals can assist decrease this risk and safeguard their macular health by wearing sunglasses with adequate UV protection.

c. Pterygium

Pterygium, sometimes known as "surfer's eye," is a pink, fleshy tissue growth on the conjunctiva, the translucent membrane that covers the white area of the eye. Prolonged UV light exposure, particularly in bright and windy conditions, is a substantial risk factor for the development of pterygium. While pterygium is normally harmless, if it gets large enough to infringe on the cornea, it can cause irritation, redness, and visual problems. Using UV-blocking sunglasses and lubricating eye solutions can help prevent or reduce the growth of pterygium. 

d. Photokeratitis

Photokeratitis, often known as "sunburn of the eye," is a painful disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the cornea, the transparent front surface of the eye, to UVB rays. It frequently happens after prolonged exposure to high-altitude snowy conditions or near highly reflecting surfaces such as water or sand. Photokeratitis symptoms include redness, tears, vision loss, and a gritty feeling. While the symptoms are usually transient, repeated bouts of photokeratitis can cause long-term corneal damage and raise the chance of developing other eye issues.

Can UV Light lead to 20/200 Vision?

The clarity or sharpness of vision, as evaluated by the Snellen eye chart, is referred to as visual acuity. A person with 20/20 vision can see items well from a distance of 20 feet, but someone with 20/200 vision must get as near as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see from a distance of 200 feet. While UV radiation exposure does not produce 20/200 vision, it can add to visual impairments and might aggravate existing vision problems.

can uv light lead to 20200 visionProlonged and severe exposure to UV light can harm the eyes, especially if preventive measures such as sunglasses are not employed. UV light can harm the sensitive structures of the eyes, such as the cornea, lens, and retina. Over time, this damage can lead to a variety of vision problems and diseases that can impair visual acuity.

While UV light does not cause 20/200 vision, it can lead to the development and progression of eye diseases that can lead to significant visual impairment. It is critical to protect our eyes from excessive UV light by wearing UV-protected sunglasses and taking other precautions.

Low vision aids and assistive gadgets can be quite beneficial to those who already have visual impairments. Zoomax low vision aids, for example, provide a variety of creative solutions meant to increase visual capabilities and daily usefulness for those with low vision. These gadgets can help people with visual impairments with things like reading, writing, and recognizing faces, enhancing their overall quality of life.

How to Choose Proper Sunglasses

To protect our eyes from the dangerous effects of UV light, we must wear sunglasses that provide enough protection. Proper eyewear protects against damaging UV rays. There are various variables to consider while choosing sunglasses:

  • UV protection: Look for sunglasses that completely block out UVA and UVB rays. Look for labels or certificates that guarantee the amount of UV protection.
  • Lens quality: Choose sunglasses with high-quality lenses that enable clear, distortion-free vision. Polarized lenses can help to minimize glare and improve visual comfort.
  • Fit and coverage: Make sure the sunglasses are comfortable to wear and give enough coverage to protect the eyes from UV light from all angles. Wrap-around shapes and larger frames might offer additional protection.
  • Additional features: these include impact resistance, scratch resistance, and blue light filtering, which can bring further benefits to eye health.

choose proper sunglasses to protect the eyes

As we enjoy the summer, it is important that we prioritize our eye health and protect ourselves from the damaging effects of UV light. We may preserve our vision by knowing the hazards of excessive UV exposure and adopting necessary precautions, such as wearing UV-protected sunglasses. Low vision aids and assistive technology for the visually impaired, such as those given by Zoomax, can considerably improve the visual abilities, independence, and general quality of life of those with visual impairments. Stay proactive, have fun this summer, and take good care of your eyes.


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