According to the Clinical Ophthalmology Journal, ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your immune system, skin, and eyes. UV rays modify proteins and oxidize lipids. This leads to the formation of eye disorders such as retinal degeneration. That is why it’s crucial to safeguard your eyes from UV rays. Here are the points to remember in protecting your eyes when you go out on a sunny day.
Based on information from the American Optometric Association, there are three ranges of ultraviolet radiation — UVA, UVB, and UVC. Although it’s the most destructive, UVC stays in the Earth’s atmosphere and doesn’t reach you at all. UVB and UVA are ranges that your eyes absorb. These two ranges of UV radiation can cause harm to your eye structures. UVB rays can cause cataracts, pterygium, photokeratitis, and squamous cell carcinoma. Researchers say that UVA rays can cause significant harm to your retina.
While it’s true that it can take several years before you experience the effects of sun damage in your eyes, short-term eye damage like photoconjuctivitis and photokeratitis can occur. These two short-term eye conditions are prevalent in people whose daily living involves sun exposure.
UV rays bouncing off reflective surfaces can be more dangerous to your eyes than direct sunlight. You always tend to look down, so the UV rays that bounce off these surfaces go directly into your eyes. Some surfaces that reflect UV rays are dry sand, soil, grass, water, seafoam, and fresh snow.
You should consider the time of day or the season when you go out. UV rays can harm your skin and your eyes more when you step out unprotected at noon. Exposure to UV rays seems to be persistent during spring, fall, and winter because the sun is at a lower position.
Experts at the National Eye Health Education Partnership (NEHEP) say that UV rays can trigger detrimental oxidative reactions in your lenses. In their studies, they recommend the following considerations to remember in choosing UV protective eyewear:
Choose sunglasses that can filter out 99 percent of UV rays.
Gray-colored lenses distort less color in your environment but don’t protect your eyes well from bright sunlight.
Wrap-around sunglasses with large lenses can cover your eyes from all sides.
If you are more sensitive to light, darker lenses are more helpful.
Wearing UV protective eyewear and a wide-brimmed hat can help shield your eyes from UVA and UVB rays better.
UV-blocking contact lenses can add more protection against UV rays even when you’re already wearing UV protective sunglasses.
Children should get more eye protection because their eyes absorb more light.
Eye care providers emphasize that the right eyewear and accessories can help prevent short-term and long-term UV damage to your eyes. Here at Optical Masters, we can help guide you in choosing the right type of eye protection. Feel free to step through our doors in Denver, Colorado, for a walk-in consultation. You can also call us at 720-780-8881 (Monaco), 720-780-9970 (Federal), and 720-782-2190 (University), for inquiries and appointment scheduling.