Ultraviolet (UV) Safety and Your Eyes

Rows of Sunglasses @ MV Optical Most people are aware that UV light is harmful to the body. We know to wear sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. But did you know that your eyes are especially susceptible to damage from UV light?

For better or worse, your eyes are anatomically built to funnel light into the sensitive tissues at the back of the eye called the retina. UV rays are usually absorbed by the crystalline lens situated behind your pupil before they can reach the retina, but over time, this continued exposure can harm the lens and rapidly advance the formation of cataracts. Similar to how your car’s paint-job or your new tattoo will fade over time if exposed to a lot of sunlight, your lens will become discolored and change from clear to hazy, often with a yellowish hue.

Of course, everyone will eventually experience a cataract in their lifetime if they collect enough birthdays, even with proper UV protection. And cataracts can be removed with a simple surgery, and the damaged lenses replaced with a new, clear plastic lens. But that’s no reason to rush the process just to avoid some funny tan lines! Hats and sunglasses (with UVA and UVB protection) can help lower UV exposure to your eye and help prevent cataracts and other harmful ocular conditions from forming.

How else can UV light damage my eyes?

Check out the links below for helpful information about how UV light can harm your eye. We recommend protecting your vision with proper eyewear treated with UV-protective coatings. Your optician can help you choose the option that’s right for you.

Pinguecula and Pterygium
Eyelid Cancers

Posted in: Cataract, Eye Health Guide, Patient Education

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