A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

The Link Between UV Exposure and Eye Conditions: Understanding the Risks

by Damion Wasylow 25 June 2023 06:47 AM

senior man shielding his eyes from the sun
If you live in Florida, you’re likely well-aware of the impact the sun can have on your skin. Few people, however, realize the effects it can have on your eyes. Over time, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays can lead to numerous eye conditions.

Why UV Exposure is Bad for the Eyes

UV light penetrates the eyes, delivering radiation that damages eye tissue, the cornea and even the lens. Even on cloudy days, UV light can damage your eyes. These are the same rays that lead to sunburns, skin aging and wrinkles. While your eyes can handle limited exposure, prolonged or repeated UV exposure poses a substantial risk of developing eye conditions.

Eye Conditions Linked to UV Exposure

UV exposure has been shown to contribute to the development of eye conditions including:

  • Cataracts: One of the main links between ultraviolet light and eye conditions is cataracts. Exposure to sunlight can promote cataract formation, which is only correctable through cataract surgery, through which the damaged lens is replaced with a lens implant.
  • Macular Degeneration: Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays often produces problems as you age. One of the risks is oxidative stress that builds up over time. The result can be macular degeneration. In severe cases, macular degeneration can lead to blindness.
  • Pterygium: Your eye’s surface absorbs 99% of UV light, making it an area of major concern. This can produce pterygium, which causes irritation and redness and can sometimes lead to decreased or distorted vision.
  • Retina Damage: The retina is very sensitive and can become damaged from looking at the sun. Permanent vision loss is possible in this case.

Proper UV protection is critical for helping to prevent these eye conditions and keeping your eyes healthier for longer. UV-blocking sunglasses can help shield delicate eye tissue from harmful UV rays. Hats can also block some of the sun’s rays and are great when combined with sunglasses.

Buying the Right Sunglasses

When selecting sunglasses, look for a pair with UV400 rating, indicating they’re capable of filtering out up to 99% of UVA and UVB rays. The UV coating on these sunglasses reflects and absorbs harmful UV rays, preventing them from reaching your sensitive eye tissue.

Be cautious with dime store sunglasses, as their UV-blocking ability is often limited, leaving your eyes exposed to potential damage.

For sunglasses that offer proper UV protection while also looking great, visit the eyewear boutiques at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. Our trained and talented opticians can help you select a pair that’s just right for your activities, style and preferences. They can even help with prescription sunglass needs.

Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment, or just walk into one of our two convenient eye boutiques, at the corner of NW 8th Avenue and NW 43rd Street in Gainesville or in Tioga Town Center. 



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