It is imperative that we all take precautions to prevent sun damage to our eyes. Doing so can substantially reduce the risk of developing eye cancer, the leading cause of blindness. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are the culprit when it comes to cancers of the eye for thousands of individuals every year. In addition to cancer, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and retinal damage.
The risk of these conditions is exacerbated when the eyes are overly exposed to ultraviolet light that produces UVA and UVB rays:
UVA Rays: These rays are frequently associated with a lesser risk of eye damage. However, these rays might damage the macula, the most sensitive part of the eye, and decrease your vision.
UVB Rays: These rays are more familiar to us as they cause sunburns and accelerate the aging process of skin. High exposures can damage the cornea, causing cataracts, which is the clouding of your vision.
How to Prevent Sun Damage to Your Eyes
Wear sunglasses: Just like sunscreen, sunglasses are recommended by most ophthalmologists when outside, especially in the early morning or evening hours when the sun is low and its rays directly hit our eyes.
Stay in the shade: If sunglasses aren’t handy, avoid areas with intense sunlight by seeking shade under trees, canopies, or awnings.
Put on a hat: Consider wearing a hat or other head covering while outside. A visor could be ideal since it shades your face and eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays, but be sure to protect any exposed skin on top of the head as well.
See the doctor: Visit your ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam, which includes checking for signs of damage to the retina and other parts of the eyes.
Don’t stare: Don’t ever stare at the sun while on the beach or in any other outdoor location, as doing so can have severe long-term effects.
Use eyedrops: Consider applying eye drops to reduce dryness, especially if you are prone to dry eyes.
Sunlight is a powerful force that can damage your eyes. It is essential to take precautions such as wearing sunglasses, a visor, or hat when outside. If your vision is suffering for any reason, including sunlight exposure, visit your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.