Give Your Eyes Some Protection from the Sun
With the recent solar eclipse, the sun was front-page news. But most days we don’t give it much thought, including what it can be doing to our eyes. We all know the sun, particularly in sunny Stockton, damages our skin, creating wrinkles, age spots, and potentially leading to skin cancer.
But we don’t know as much about what it can do to our eyes. Since the health of your eyes is our mission at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, here’s the lowdown on solar radiation and your eyes.
The long and short of it
You’ve heard about ultraviolet radiation (UV) and your skin. It also wreaks havoc on your eyes. Beyond the sun, UV radiation also comes from artificial sources like welding machines, tanning beds, and lasers. Both kinds of UV radiation, UVA and UVB, can affect your eyes both short term and long term.
Over the short term, UV radiation can cause photokeratitis. This is akin to sunburn of the eyes. It can be somewhat painful with symptoms such as red eyes, a gritty feeling in the eyes, excessive tearing, and sensitivity to light. These issues are temporary.
Long-term UV exposure is more dangerous. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over the years increases the chance of developing cataracts and may lead to retina damage. The longer the exposure, the greater the chances of developing cataracts and other issues such as macular degeneration.
How to protect your eyes
The team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group recommends that you wear quality sunglasses and a hat or cap with a wide brim. Certain contact lenses have built-in UV protection, as well, so ask for those with your next order.
To provide adequate protection, your sunglasses should:
- Block out 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Screen out 75 to 90% of visible light.
- Have gray lenses so represent color accurately.
- Be high quality and free of distortion.
- Provide impact resistance if you wear them during hazardous work or for sports.
- If you are out a lot, wrap-around frames provide additional protection.
Most issues caused by the sun’s radiation can be managed and treated, but they need to be diagnosed early in their development. That’s another reason why your eye exams with Central Valley Eye Medical every other year are so important. Call us to schedule your next exam at 1-800-244-9907.