Everyone loves a good sunny day. You can go outside and do everything you need. Plus, you don’t need to worry about rain ruining your plans. We receive our vitamin D dose and get the energy we need. But, we forget the link between UV light and eyes.
There’s a reason why sunglasses exist. Everyone knows that too much sunlight is bad for your skin. No one likes the day after getting sunburned. But, your eyes are just as sensitive as your skin.
So, we need to be careful about our time outside. Of course, you shouldn’t stare at the sun. But, UV rays can harm your eyes in other ways.
What happens if you look at UV light? UV Light and eyes in summary
You could look at UV light on accident. In most cases, you may experience corneal sunburn. That’s also known as photokeratitis. Thus, you could feel pain. Moreover, your tears might flow more than usual.
Luckily, the condition is quite fast. It’ll leave as quickly as it came. But, it’s not the only thing that can happen.
UV light can speed up AMD, or age-related macular degeneration. You can also increase your risk of developing cataracts. The same goes for pterygium, or buildups of eye tissue.
Moreover, you don’t have to stare at the sun for this. Any UV light source can affect your eyes. That includes artificial light from UV light bulbs.
How does UV light damage your eyes?
Nevada Eye Physicians has a great summary of UV light and eyes. The tissue in our eyes is one of the most sensitive tissues in our bodies. That makes it especially liable to damage from all sources. And, UV radiation from any source isn’t the exception.
To understand UV light’s damage, we need to go through the different types of UV light. Ultraviolet rays aren’t visible. They’re high in energy. And, that’s why they’re harmful.
There are three categories of UV radiation.
- UVC rays have the highest energy. Thus, they’re the most harmful.
- UVB rays have a bit less energy. But, they can cause photokeratitis in low doses.
- UVA rays are the weakest of the three. They can pass through the cornea with little effort. Overexposure could cause cataracts and macular degeneration.
Photokeratitis: The main issue with UV light and eyes
According to Cleveland Clinic, photokeratitis is a temporary eye condition. We can compare it to sunburn. The difference is that it occurs in the cornea instead of the skin. With that in mind, it’s almost the same.
It’s as painful and temporary as regular sunburn. Thus, you’re at risk if you spend a lot of time outdoors. That’s particularly true if you go out when the sun is at its strongest. You also risk your eyes if you use sunlamps or tanning beds.
Living in higher altitudes is also a risk factor. Sunlight reflection can also cause photokeratitis. That includes reflection from water, snow, or cement.
The symptoms of photokeratitis include the following:
- Pain and redness in the eyes.
- Watery eyes.
- Blurry vision.
- Light sensitivity.
- Eyelid twitching.
- Gritty sensation.
- Temporary vision loss.
- Seeing halos.
How can you protect your eyes from UV rays?
Luckily, keeping UV light and eyes separated isn’t too difficult. Protecting your eyes demands just a few steps.
Naturally, the first step is to understand the dangers of UV light. With that, you can take measures to avoid exposure. Try not to go out when the sun is at its strongest. That means staying indoors between 10 AM and 4 PM.
If you need to go outside, wear protection. You can find eyewear that absorbs UV light. It doesn’t have to be prescription eyewear. It’s easy to find good sunglasses for a good price. You can also use a brimmed hat or cap to keep light away from your eyes.
The holistic takeaway
UV light and eyes have a problematic relationship. We need sunlight to feel energized and adjust our circadian rhythm. But, UV rays are more harmful than helpful. So, make sure you’re keeping your eyes safe.
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