Spending time outdoors is good for your eyesight. The natural light can stimulate and exercise your eyes. That said, too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are emitted by the sun, can be harmful to your vision.
Today, your optometrist explains how UV light can damage your eyes.
Different Types of UV Rays
There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA rays have lower energy levels than the other two. They can pass through your eyes’ cornea and lens, and even reach the retina. Overexposure to this kind of UV light has been associated with the development of macular degeneration and certain forms of cataracts.
UVB rays emit energy that’s slightly higher than that of UVA light, but lower than what UVC rays produce. Exposure to low doses of UVB light stimulates melanin production, resulting in darkening of your skin. However, higher UVB light doses can lead to sunburn, wrinkling and other signs of skin aging. Your eye doctor shares that UVB rays are also linked to corneal inflammation and eye growths.
Lastly, UVC rays produce the highest energy among the three kinds of UV light. Exposure to this form of UV energy can cause significant damage to your vision. Fortunately, the atmosphere’s ozone layer absorbs most of the UVC rays.
Preventing UV-Related Eye Damage
Fortunately, there are precautionary measures you can take to enjoy the sunlight while maintaining your healthy vision. For one, avoid looking directly at the sun. Doing so can result in solar retinopathy, or retinal damage caused by sun radiation.
In addition, always wear UV-protective sun- or eyeglasses when going outdoors, even on cloudy days. Your eye care specialist can recommend a pair that offers 100% UV protection that blocks up to 400 nanometers of both UVA and UVB rays. You can also wear a wide-brimmed hat or carry an umbrella for added protection.
For more information about UV effects on your eyes, contact us at (703) 688-7003. You can also fill out our form to request an appointment. We serve various VA areas, including Reston, McLean and Vienna.