In the early 1900’s, tanning was not cool. In fact, most women in the United…
You’re probably aware that the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage your skin.
But you may not know that prolonged exposure to those same UVA and UVB rays can also damage your eyes.
“As a clinic specializing in skin care, we don’t treat eye conditions,” says Richard Price, MD, of Price Skin Care Clinic of Ridgeland. “But we do want our patients to understand the conditions that ultraviolet rays can cause to the eyes, and know how to protect their eyes from the sun.”
Spending too much time in the sun can damage the delicate tissues of the eyes, increasing the risk of developing at least five serious eye conditions.
Those five conditions are:
Although cataracts are a natural part of aging, overexposure to UV radiation can contribute to the development and progress of this condition.
A common cause of vision loss among older adults, long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays can increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.
This painful condition is also known as ‘sunburn of the cornea’ and occurs when this transparent front part of the eye is exposed to too much UV radiation. Symptoms include redness, tearing, blurred vision, and a gritty sensation.
This growth presents as a fleshy tissue growth on the white part of the eye and may even extend to the cornea. A Pterygium can result in redness, irritation, dryness and can affect vision if it grows ‘large enough.’
This yellowish, raised growth can occur on the conjunctiva (the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye) and is more common in those who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in sunny or windy conditions. Symptoms include dryness, irritation, and a sensation of having something foreign in the eye.
How You Can Protect Your Eyes
There are several steps you can take to prevent these serious eye conditions from developing:
• Limit your exposure to the sun by seeking shade or going indoors between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM – the hours of the day when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.
• Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection. Choose wraparound frames that will shield your eyes from sunlight – both direct and indirect.
• In addition to the sunglasses, wear a wide-brimmed hat which can block even more UV rays, protecting your eyes and face.
• Have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) at least once a year. A trained eye specialist can screen for these eye conditions and if diagnosed, can explain your treatment options.
Thankfully, following these sun-safe guidelines for your eyes can reduce your risks of developing sun-related eye conditions and make it more likely that you’ll enjoy healthy eyesight for many years to come.
If you have questions about your skin health or would like to schedule your annual skin screen exam, please give us a call at: 601.992.3996.