Skin cancer, freckles, and premature aging, are just a few detrimental outcomes of Ultraviolet exposure. Now consider the impact the sun has on our eyes. Ultraviolet light is the high-energy rays projected from the sun just beyond the violet/blue end of the visible spectrum.
Although 99% of UV light is absorbed by the eye’s anterior structures, some of it does make it to the light sensitive retina. UV absorption by the eye may be connected to a number of serious eye diseases. These diseases are not unfamiliar to most, however, are not commonly connected to UV rays. Such ocular diseases include age-related cataract, cancer of the skin around the eye, photokeratitis/keratitis and corneal degenerative changes, and may contribute to age-related macula degeneration, to mention a few.
Worldwide, cataract is a major cause of visual impairment and blindness. A cataract can be defined as cloudiness of the lens developing over a period of many years. According to laboratory studies, UV exposure can be considered a casual factor for cataract. Additionally, studies have shown certain types of cataract are associated with higher exposure to UV and especially UV-B radiation.
A major cause of reduced vision in the United States for people over 55 is age-related macula degeneration. UV exposure in laboratory experiments has shown retinal tissue damage and scientists have speculated that chronic UV exposure may contribute to aging processes in the retina.
The importance of good glasses and sunglasses cannot be argued in light of this information. Now glasses and sunglasses with UV protection and Polarization are used more often as a method of protection rather than just for appearance. Polarization in addition to UV protection helps eliminate annoying glare and distortion associated with bright sunlight and night driving.
Understanding the potential risks associated with sun damage to your eyes can be helpful when deciding on the right pair of glasses that fit your lifestyle. A yearly eye exam is recommended regardless, why not take advantage of this time with your eye doctor and ask about the effects of the sun and the type of glasses or sunglasses that would best suite your needs.